Archive for the ‘Cats’ Category

A month in: #PhiladelphiaMarathon

August 25, 2013

It was a very frustrating week in the attempt to train for the Philadelphia Half-Marathon (you can support this insanity here).  My nagging hamstring continued to nag so last Saturday (like 8 days ago), I saw a certified athletic trainer I know to see how I could work around this (aside from either quitting or swilling Tylenol).  It’s more an issue of anatomy than anything else.  My right ankle pronates and my right leg is enough longer to alter my gait.  So I spent the week trying to correct that (and let’s face it, it will be more than a week) and he suggested not walking (just small half to one mile walks)  but switching over to some specific exercises instead that would stretch out the hamstring and help with the ankle pronation.  Ok, I’ve now found something I really dislike.  That and I was called the least flexible person in the world (ok, that is true: on so many levels) made a fun, fun week. <insert sarcastic face here> (Scary realization #1: I missed my wogs!)

I didn’t know what to expect today on the ‘long walk day’: I was willing to scale back to 2.5 miles and re-build since I wasn’t sure.  After accidentally shutting off RunKeeper, and having to re-start it (which irked me because I *REALLY* wanted the longest distance to date cheerful e-mail!), and adding up the miles: 4.76 miles!  WOO HOO!  My best distance to date and at one point (about 1.2 miles in), I stopped to debate about backtracking or pushing on to see if I could hit the 5 mile mark.  I’m glad I kept going.  The 5 mile mark did quite get met (part of that is because I was trying to guesstimate the trail) but I did it in the not-so-flat town where I live: without a screaming hamstring!

My shoulder orthopedist (who I’ve known for years), pretty much rolled his eyes at me when I told him what I was doing.  He pointed out that with more hardware IN my body than at your average Home Depot, this might not be a great idea.  I pointed out to him I was walking it, not running it.  He also gave me a few tips for keeping the ankle pointed forwards and cross training.  It makes sense, plus I get to return to swimming which will help!

The best part? I didn’t come home and collapse.  I “stretched” out, had a cup of coffee and flipped on Law & Order to enjoy my Sunday morning routine.  I did giggle when Windsor somehow became tangled up in my green hamstring stretcher.  He’s pretty much a lunatic.

Best training advice of the week? “It’s better to be a RunKeeper snail than a couch potato”.

Better realization? This is the first week, I’ve actually felt this might be an obtainable goal.

Shameless #catspam

naps: they keep a body strong.

naps: they keep a body strong.

Wrap up from week 3: #PhiladelphiaMarathon #RunForAutism

August 16, 2013

I’m still a snail according to RunKeeper. . . I was hoping to move up to slug or oh turtle.  Last week (that would be week 2) was a disaster.  I let work dictate my life (bad) and on my one wog, wound up with a nightmare case of shin splints (bad).  Oh, and shameless fundraising plug.

This week, I finally decided to be a bit more logical in my approach.  I broke down and bought one of those green straps that I can use to stretch my hamstrings.  I found a better pair of shoes that fit my insane ankle pronation and I’m trying to balance a 3/4 inch leg length difference and what sort of trails/paths I need to walk on.  Luckily, the course itself is flat.  I’ve revamped where I wog from my neighborhood to a few other areas.  I live on the top OF a hill and most walks have hills which aggravate the hamstring/shin splint issue: of course, I thought of this today!

Strange lesson learned: I tend to eat better when I exercise.  I’m sure there is a logical explanation but I don’t even want junk.  It’s not in the “OMG, I know exactly how long I have to work out for to burn those calories” but simply not wanting junk.  I also eat less.  Ok, that is probably because I’m less stressed because somehow exercise makes me less stressed.

New additions to the chic training gear: replaced foam roller (thanks Lafitte), green strap, correct running shoes and a kitten.  Really, a new kitten.  Windsor but more on him later but he’ll help with agility training.

Miles Wogged: 10.14 Tu-F.

Realization #1: I need to really work on the hamstring flexibility.  It’s completely related to the 25 or so odd surgeries on the legs.  They are never going to be balanced but I need to learn how to keep them from flaring (which, based on how I feel, I’m thinking walking in flatter areas is going to help).

Realization #2: I will always probably be a RunKeeper snail.

Realization #3: Sadly, I think I’m looking forward to the few miles I log after work to just decompress.

Realization #4: I’m a sucker for kittens with sob stories.

Best training advice: Figure out when it’s your brain saying stop versus your body.  If it’s your body, stop. If it’s your brain, tell it to shut up.  (Thanks Tim!).

 

They are #cats. Really.

July 26, 2013

Last night I popped open an e-mail from somebody I’ve known for roughly 9 years.  We crossed paths in graduate school and I have, what I would have termed until yesterday, an extremely causal acquaintanceship with this person: meaning if we were at the same party, I’d go over and say hello but not much more that a superficial relationship at best.

“Hi.  I believe in honesty.  I just wanted to let me know that in light of the Trevon Martin decision, I found your link on FB to demonstrate latent racism on your part.  I’ve seen a few of your posts about your cat who you call ‘the world’s dumbest animal’ and now this link about another person referring to a black cat in the same manner.  This IS racism.  I’ve expressed my concerns to you before regarding the names of your animals.  Please consider these types of posts and naming of your animals going forwards.  In Christ’s Peace. . . . “

What. The. Hell.  Ok, get a grip you dumb ass New England Liberal, or more correctly, get your head OUT OF your ass.  Lafitte is a cat. (You know, 4 paws, whiskers, tries to catch birds/mice and meows).  He also is quite dumb.  Cute but dumb.

Jackson IS named after Andrew Jackson.  Yup, there are some aspects of the Jacksonian Era that are questionable, there are also some pretty good things (the start of the national banking system) and some quirky things (oh, big block of cheese, to the victor the spoils and that almost burning down of the White House thanks to a party). And depending on who you are, credit for starting the Democratic Party.  If you knew something about history, you’d get that Laffite was Jackson’s side-kick in the Battle of New Orleans securing the port during the War of 1812 (albeit after the war had ended).

But here is the thing: they are C-A-T-S named after (one could argue) moderately important figures and legends in early American history.  One is orange, one is black.  I had Lafitte’s named picked before I even saw him.  I got him because Jackson needed a side kick.

I’m not denying the very real racism that exists in this country: I’m not denying that as a person of European descent I do not fully grasp the complexities of racism (but when you want to chat with me about sexism, discrimination based on sexual orientation or disability, give me a call).

I am stating for the record, having a dumb black cat named after a pirate doesn’t making me a racist.  But sending me an e-mail telling me I’m one, and then signing your e-mail using religion only re-enforces my entrenched beliefs about over the top liberal idiocy regarding issues and the looking for oppression around every corner in and demanding an apology.

Not everything has a hidden agenda people.  Sometimes, you just name your pet after a few quirky personalities in history.  It’s not like I named him Mussolini.  Now *that* would have been offensive.

And for the record? The writer of the e-mail is a white, heterosexual male.  Not that it should make any difference.

2 nieces, 2 cats, 1 box. I quit. #catspam

May 22, 2013

I had one simple task today. . . . wrap birthday gifts, place in box and mail to twin nieces in Oklahoma.

I'll ignore the fact you want me out of the box.

I’ll ignore the fact you want me out of the box.

This is my box.  Try again.

This is my box. Try again.

Wow, look, a BOX!

Wow, look, a BOX!

Maybe Lauren will take me as a present so I can stay in the box?

Maybe Lauren will take me as a present so I can stay in the box?

An hour later. . . a cat free box with presents for 8 year olds.

An hour later. . . a cat free box with presents for 8 year olds.

And yet, while making the mailing label, I find this.

You really think I'm giving up this box?

You really think I’m giving up this box?

I remember now why I shop on-line.

My take away from AWP and a mini-Hollins reunion? Travel as a Need.

March 10, 2013

Yesterday, I listened to writers discuss their craft at the AWP convention. I jotted down snippets on a legal pad out of habit and in the middle of listening to a panel discussion on writing in translation (for a very cool and free literary journal check out wordswithoutborders.org). It really wasn’t about writing in translation but about bringing the writing to translation. I think. It’s not the fault of the presenters; they were muses at that point. I realized there was passion. Artists, in general, receive the stereotype of passionate. As some point, and with great apologies, I lost track of the discussion and realized what I was hearing was passion OF career, something that is and has been lacking in my world.

I’m done. Not in a suicidal rage done, merely done. At the point of exhaustion, I see what the causation. Living without passion is not living. It’s survivalism. I have a few things I have to get done (notably that pesky shoulder surgery in exactly 37 days not that I’m joyously counting down). And then I’m leaving. On a jet plane. Ok, there are some very real steps in between: sorting through a few decades worth of junk to what will fit into a small storage unit in the town my parents reside, figuring out the where I want to go, where I need to go and uh, how to translate “I’m deathly allergic to shellfish” in every language known on the planet. I plan on leaving in roughly a year after I’m done with my shoulder rehab.

I am a huge proponent of knowing needs versus wants. I need to travel. I don’t need Disney; I don’t need turn down service. I need my backpack, my passport and well, the aforementioned card that says please don’t serve me anything with shellfish. Travel, of me, is activism. It’s the part that allows me to say to the world “no, not all Americans are like that” and to hear “No, xxx really isn’t like that.” I need to see the world, to take in the sights, the smells and show, if even to myself, that the world is much better and far less hateful than media outlets make it out to be. Travel is my idealism. Travel is hard; there is nothing worse than being curled up in a hotel room, in a foreign country 14 time zones from home where you don’t know the language or anybody and are miserably sick (ok, there are a LOT of things that are worse) without a common alphabet in common to figure out what medicine you might be taking (Ah, Tokyo. I really want to visit you again!). There is nothing more wonderful than being surrounded by a gaggle for elementary school students in Hiroshima practicing their English in the shadow of the destruction your country created peppering you with questions because they’ve found a ‘real’ American from Boston (where apparently a Japanese player was playing for the Red Sox) to pepper with questions about baseball, Boston and lots of questions that were not on the list.

I know when I plan to leave. I don’t know when I’ll be back. But I know, for probably the first time, I will be following my passion. And (almost) everything else is irrelevant. Of course, all of this is completely dependent on my mother agreeing to cat sit world’s dumbest animal. Completely open to ideas on where to visit anywhere on the planet outside of Western Europe, good travel blogs and volunteer stops along the way.

Day 16: It does start with a topic statement

August 30, 2011

Create a simplicity statement. What do you want your simple life to look
like? Write it out. ”

You can’t know where you are going until you create the plan . . . right? What does simple living look like for me?  I realize that everybody will have a different version of simple living.  For me … it has to involve down time.  What do I want my life to look like? In that magic wand sort of way? I need to have a place for everything in my life: most things are ok in moderation.  I’ve learned (painfully) over the past few months that some people just aren’t welcome in my life.  I’ll adjust. I’ll mourn what was and what won’t be.  Maybe there is something I can take from the fur creatures: they really don’t care if people like them or not.  There are things I have in my condo, I don’t need (VietnamVet pick up scheduled!).  Items like that are the foundation for my ‘living simply’.

What do I need to live simply? A place to live. A de-stressing hobby (right now … canning).  Happy monsters er fur children. Coke Zero. My smart phone.  Enough money to just unplug every 3 years or so for a few weeks in a flung out part of the planet. I need to walk away when it’s not in my best interest.  Drama free friends.  Let’s face it, family=drama.

My topic sentence? “What I need to live simply is to remember, most things in life aren’t needed, aren’t the big stuff and don’t really warrant the energy I put into the stress to make sure everything is running smoothly.  We make life more complex: and at the end of the day, very few things matter.”

Snah. Now to get there . . . . .

Task: Also a 4 letter word

August 19, 2011

Days 4 & 5:

  • Simplify work tasks. Our work day is made up of an endless list of
    work tasks. If you simply try to knock off all the tasks on your to-do list,
    you’ll never get everything done, and worse yet, you’ll never get the important
    stuff done. Focus on the essential tasks and eliminate the rest. Read
    more
    .
  • Simplify home tasks. In that vein, think about all the stuff you do
    at home. Sometimes our home task list is just as long as our work list. And
    we’ll never get that done either. So focus on the most important, and try to
    find ways to eliminate the other tasks (automate, eliminate, delegate, or hire
    help).

So, this is one of those things where one I don’t have as much control as I’d like (ok, I’m a Type A control freak).  Since I am working as a temp, my work tasks are dependent on others.  I can’t be proactive using lull times to get ahead.  The sad thing is that I’ve become a the type of person who comes in, does her job and leaves.  Since I’m at the end of the totem pole, there I do what is assigned and moved on.  The sad reality of the not-in-a-recession-but-sure-looks-like-it economy.  Hey, I’m working, I have enough to pay my bills and put a bit aside, I’m not complaining.  I’ve just come to realize how much not being vested in an organization has made me disenfranchised with what I do day in and day out.

Simplify at home: oh the both sides of being single! To say I despise cleaning is a mild understatement.  Every fall, I do a massive purge.  This year, I have a hunch is going to be particularly ugly.  I have a few boxes that I haven’t unpacked: I moved to this condo in ’07. Um. I’ll make sure they aren’t things like old tax returns but something tells me they are going in the donation pile.

One of the challenges of tasks I need to simplify is my commitment to shopping locally owned as much as possible.  Yes, target is far more tempting given the fact it now has groceries.  However, I’ve found a different level of intention in shopping local (aside from the do I really need this):  chatting with the grocery store owner of the Brazilian market, having a random conversation about paint with a retired engineer at the hardware store.  Somehow, it has become less cumbersome being in the smaller places versus dodging shopping carts, reckless drivers and the general hassle of big box stores.

What are my big goals for my home this fall? Organize my guest room.  If I haven’t used it, touched it, thought about it in the past 2 years: it will be Ebayed, freecycled (maybe, that sorta creeps me out) or donated.  Then I’ll organize it into some sort of space, I haven’t decided yet (Jackson and Lafitte are angling for a kitty jungle).  The condo has been a giant to-do list for a myriad of reasons I’m not going to blog about: I’m finally ready to untangle the havoc.  Right now, I have the last 3 places I’ve lived sorta in a heap.  Ack.  It’s time to break out the calendar and map the next 8 weekends for the clean, purge, re-do plan!

Evaluating commitments: Day 2 of 72

August 16, 2011

Mine are pretty simple: work and cats.  My family is pretty flung out so most of my time with them is crammed around various holidays.  I’m single which in and of itself can be a push/pull.  There are days it is exhausting (hi, if I don’t get it done, it’s not going to get done – the cats are lazy like that), there are days it’s lonely, there are days it’s fantastic.  Being single can make it harder to find community (you don’t have that instant introduction of kid-things, a partner who is probably more social that you are).  Being single takes time: nobody to share the household chores.

When I think of what gives me value in my life at the moment? I’m into canning.  There is something relaxing about chopping, processing, making various food items.  I am having a blast going to local farms and finding the produce that I want to preserve.  It’s my de-stressor (having tried knitting, reading and a host of other activities).  I’ve found a fun community on Facebook over canning.  I am able to reduce my carbon foot print by canning/freezing items that are grown in a nearby radius of my home.

My job is one of those things: it is what it is.  I have been working temp for a year or so.  My commute depends on traffic and my hours vary from 8 to oh 14 hours a day.  While yes, working is a necessity and yes it can be stressful and busy, with the economy as it is, I’m grateful for my job.  What I’ve learned in working in a stressful environment is that it is necessary to find slices of respite in the day.  Years ago, I’d never take breaks at work.  Now, I do.  I find that time for a walk around the campus to clear my mind before returning to work.  I jot e-mails to people.  There have been a few times at work where I’ve had to say “No.”  (and wow, is that uncomfortable as a temp!).

As I balance the commute, being single, trying to not live in an episode of hoarders, and watching a tight budget, I’ve learned that it’s ok to scale back.  I find myself only offering to do something when I actually want to (this is a perk of child-free, I don’t feel obligated to doing a host of things for my kids, the cats are GOOD that way!) participate in the activity.  My dirty little secret is that I probably do have a selfish life.  Yes, I donate my time, cash, efforts when I *have* the means.  I should do more.  A place for further reflections, I am sure!

50 Random Things About Me. . . .

April 13, 2011

So, a friend of mine made a list of 100 non-negative statements about her … uh, yeah. I’m not that brave. So, here are 50 random nonnegative (unless we pick opposite sports teams) about me.

1) I love to travel. My must go to before I die list stands at India, back to China, SE Asia circuit, Trans-Siberian Rail, New Zealand and Australia. Winning the Lotto would help this addiction.

2) I’m a good cook. I’m a really good cook when I put my mind to it – pretty rare – but a good cook.

3) I can travel for 3 weeks including a laptop and CPAP in a backpack the size of a carry on.

4) The aforementioned backpack is the only piece of luggage I own.

5) I once got stuck in the Paris Metro gates with the backpack while on crutches after having my hip reconstructed. It was pretty funny.

6) I’m wildly sarcastic and sardonic. 

7) I have Halloween cats named Jackson and Lafitte.

8) I love college sports.  Doesn’t really matter the sport … there is something about the passion.

9) I have 8 friends who are published authors.

10) I’m terrified of the dentist.

11) I’ve had surgery 31 times (hence the blog name).

12) I’m on the fence about the Kindle or other such book readers. Something about the feel of paper.

13) I actually have written a real letter in the past year. And mailed it.

14) My shower curtain has dancing monkeys on it. Ok, it seemed like a good idea at the time.

15) I’m left-handed.

16) I totaled my car while moving cross-country.

17) I recycle.

18) I’m fiercely loyal to my friends … but if you cross me?

19) I vote in every election.

20) I believe in day baseball, the Cubs winning the World Series and Santa Claus. Well 2 of the 3.

21) I go to church, uh, once a year.

22) I try to remember that most things aren’t as important as we make them out to be.

23) I think Oreos and Diet Coke make a perfect dinner. 

24) Occasionally, I like to splash in the big puddles.

25) I prefer tea over coffee.

26) I read just about everything . . . except vampire and romance books. Which is odd because 2 of my friends have published books in those genres.

27) I’ll defend just about anybody’s right for free speech … even if I disagree with them.

28) Casablanca is my favorite movie.

29) I enjoy watching people … we can learn so much by just watching.

30) I’m not as outgoing as most people assume I am; I’m actually pretty reserved.

31) I’m allergic to shellfish.

32) I dyed my hair brown once … it turned out orange. Whoops.

33) I love my 3 nieces and 3 nephews more than anything else on this planet.

34) I love red wine.

35) My favorite item of clothing is my Ohio State hoodie … it replaced my GAP hoodie.

36) I try to laugh as much as possible.

37) I support as many local businesses as possible.

38) When I swim laps, I sing Bon Jovi in my head.

39) I am amazed at my friends and family who can parent, work and find time for themselves.

40) I try to remember my Grandmother’s favorite question “what did you learn today?”

41) I have had bone grafts from cadaver donors . . . I hope I can make the same choice if ever presented to me.

42) I once threw a pan away after a cooking experiment.

43) I have a bobble head Jesus and Moses action figure doll.

44) I’m a slightly rabid basketball fan.

45) My mother’s name is misspelled on my birth certificate.

46) Every year, I really think the Cubs are going to win the World Series. One year, I’ll be right!

47) When I play tennis, I sometimes switch hands with my racquet.

48) I’m afraid of ice storms.

49) I graduated from Hollins College.

50) I’m pretty sure peanut butter is the world’s most perfect food.

Yummy goodness!

February 5, 2011

So, I had one of those look in the refrigerator and see what you can eat nights. Most of the time, that results in an uninspired, unoriginal cheese and egg omelette. Today? A snap quick recipe of organic yumminess.

One container of Trader Joe’s pre-made polenta.

One bag of Trader Joe’s organic spinach (raw)

1lb of Italian Mild Sausage from the fantastic 8 O’clock Ranch

1lb of Raw Milk Cheddar from the Neighborly Farms

I spread the polenta out on the bottom of the pan, layered with cooked sausage, spinach next then the cheese.  Cooked for about an hour at 350.  Yummy goodness.  Even have leftovers.

Didn’t have to be McGyver to make it. . . and everything is organic.

Oh, and in the did you know this? Jean Lafitte was Jewish. I told Lafitte this….and decided we lived in an interfaith household. Good thing I bought him that Hanukkah stocking this year on clearance.