Summer schedule of an underemployed teacher

One of the many, many wonderful things about being a teacher (besides an excuse to wear flats and cardigans every day and, you know, change lives) is our long summers off. However, this is the first summer in my life that I have not traveled extensively or had a consistent part-time job. I get a lot of crap for it but please remember before you hate on me for this, as a teacher 1) I didn’t make the calendar 2) I wish EVERYONE could enjoy 9 weeks off alongside me, and finally 3) in past summers, I have been a beer cart girl at a golf course, a craft store associate, a grocery store cashier, a nanny, a process server (that was earlier this summer), a painter, an apartment refurbisher, a secretary at a law office, a tutor, a cleaner, a curriculum planner, and a hostess at a steakhouse. I’ve put my time in doing menial, occasionally degrading work (like the time I got repeatedly sexually harrassed as a beer cart girl) and I just don’t want to do it any more.

The long answer is I hate the tedium of retail, want a super-flexible schedule, don’t particularly feel like fake-chatting/smiling people up all day like I did in the restaurant or getting yelled at for not wiping down menus right. I also don’t really feel like acquiring a new, temporary skill set and I DEFINITELY do not want to change the diaper’s of someone else’s kid when, frankly, right now I would very much rather have my own baby. Sometimes I feel like the only thing I am good at is teaching Spanish. So I’ll stick to that.

 

Therefore I thought I would let you in on a typical day or two of what my summer has been shaping up to be:

5:44am- wake up (I never need an alarm; I am that much of a morning person). It’s summer time however, so now I wake up, realize I have nothing particularly pressing to do today; fall back asleep.

6:30/7:00- wake up and make a to-do list, sometimes consisting of things like “straighten out the solar lights”, “check retirement fund”, and “swim in Aunt D’s pool”

7:00-9:00- cruise the internet, comparing my lives to others’ on Facebook, reading everything from Buzzfeed to NYT to XOJane to numerous wedding and baby forums. I notice how busy and productive people are.

8:50- declare to husband, who is busily preparing for work, that “I have read the entire internet”. Angrily close laptop.

9:00- get into workout clothes. Lounge around more.

9:15 – complete meaningless domestic activities I classify under “putzing aimlessly around the house”; water the garden, deadhead petunias, empty the dehumidifier, clean out the junk drawer, glue the broken knob back on for the 3rd time, arrange Halloween decorations, organize my lipsticks, pick hairballs off the couch.

10:00- exercise. This makes me feel good and like a semi-productive human. Applaud myself for getting off the couch and avoiding deep vein thrombosis.

11:00 – around this time two or three times a week  is actually a very fulfilling, challenging part of my day. I volunteer as a medical transporter/ translator for a local organization that supports our migrant race track workers. I pick a worker up and drive them to dentist, doctor or eye appointments. I sort out paperwork for them, advocate for their needs and translate in the medical offices. I love it. The workers are always humble, respectful and earnest and I really enjoy hearing about their lives. Most work two full-time jobs here as they toil in the migrant-worker horse racing circuit, and send the money back home to Mexico, Guatemala, Colombia and Chile where they have large families and few opportunities. In the face of self-interest, it’s a great opportunity for me to practice my Spanish, albeit humbling at times when I can’t understand the Chilean guy, Hector.

at the Backstretch Worker's Health fair where I helped translate

at the Backstretch Worker’s Health fair where I helped translate

1:00-1:30- time for my paying job! I walk a sweet but very slow-moving 14-year-old mutt for 20 minutes.

2:15- make myself a spinach shake that’s disgusting but I know is good for me. Use old, semi-rotting berries because I am incapable of wasting food.

2:10- check my school email. Feel deeply conflicting emotions about reluctance to go back to teaching but also my eagerness to re-enter the workforce.

3:00- notice my couch cushions are getting flat and smooshy from me sitting on them too much.

3:30-4:15- take my dogs on a 1.5 mile hike at Skidmore. Excited if I see other adult humans along the trail and attempt to engage in long conversations with them.

5:00- 6:30 – wait for husband to get home. Send him whiny texts with silly emojis and pictures of dogs

6:30- by this time my brain has turned to mush from inactivity and I don’t even want to talk to my husband.


Typical day #2

5:44 – 9:00- see above

9:30: spin class! Get an endorphin rush and swear I am going to crack open my Portuguese books and teach myself the language.

10:45- realize I will never actually start Portuguese without a Brazilian vacation on the horizon. Hide my Portuguese workbooks.

11:00- carefully put a bunch of things in my Target cart online. Don’t purchase any of it.

11:30- text husband something cute

11:33- text sister a lolcat photo or a llama

11:35- test husband something annoying

11:44- text sister a funny dog or bunny photo

11:46- text sister asking her if I’m bothering her while she’s busy at work

12:00- grocery store. Now, for most people this is an infuriatingly busy time to shop, but when you’re not in a rush, things bother you a lot less. No, lady in orthopedic sneaks, you go first in line, I’m in no hurry!

12:45- eat a lunch of oatmeal and bananas. Feel old.

1:00-1:30- employment time! Old Shiloh does not look eager to see me. Pray she survives out walk in the summer heat and she can make it up the stairs.

2:00 – go to TJMaxx for human interaction. Leave with 12 things I don’t need.

2:30- text husband again

2:34- text little sister again

2:50- check out Netflix. Wonder how one online service can have so many incredibly shitty movies and shows. Abandon visual entertainment.

3:10 – cat nap. Very embarrassed if someone calls and asks me what I’m doing.

3:45- take dogs on a our hike. When someone cuts me off while driving to the trails, I just smile. Go ahead, kind sir! Fully understand while old people drive so slowly and without meaning.

4:45- wonder if it’s too early for dinner? I’ve been waiting aaaaaaaalll dayyyyyyyy.

5:00- pester husband about when he’ll be home.

 

Yeah. So. September will be good for me.


 

How I Failed as a Mentor

[[This is long and personal. You’ve been warned.]]

The first time I saw Jasmin*, she was slouched on a bench in an over-heated hallway that that smelled like hot dogs and tempera paint. She looked defiant as she eyed my nervous smile and mock turtleneck warily. I entered her elementary school with all the optimism and naiveté you’d expect from a suburban white girl intent on “changing the life” of the inner-city child I was assigned to mentor. It was 2004 and I was attending a private liberal arts college just five miles from her school, a dilapidated Catholic urban primary school. We were geographically so close and yet were a world of difference and opportunity away. Jasmin attended St. Anthony’s thanks to New York’s school-voucher system. The other educational option for her was the local p
ublic school, notoriously violent and run-down; a symbol of urban discord. When I was in high-school, my friend and I would joke about getting lost in the neighborhood Jaz lived in at that time. We were lucky enough to just pass through it on our way to the big convention center to watch concerts, of course. Our jokes about hoodies and gunshots were Jasmin’s perpetual reality.

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Now closed down

I was matched with 12-year-old Jasmin by our city’s Hispanic Outreach Services. A Spanish Education major and aspiring teacher, I was itching to practice my Spanish as well as get out of the homogeneous white bubble that was my university (so many students, and yet so many wearing the same magenta-hued Juicy track suits and listening to identical OAR albums!). Tuesdays and Thursdays from 3-4, I would drive into “the city” and help Jasmin with whatever she needed- homework, speaking skills, friends, survival.

After toiling through her school worksheets — which seemed to me frighteningly low-level for 6th grade — she’d draw rainbows and lakes and butterflies. I wondered when she ever got to see beauty like that. Certainly not in her neighborhood of eroding concrete, peripheral yet pervasive gang presence, and decrepit duplexes.

During our tutoring sessions, I learned Jasmin’s mom was an immigrant who fled El Salvador during the Civil War of the 90’s. Her father had died years ago in unknown circumstances in Guatemala. Jaz and her mom lived with her brother, who dabbled in drugs, and her older sister who had a few kids (I never got the whole story on her, as Jaz was evasive about many things) in a small apartment near the interstate.

Though our commitment with Hispanic Outreach had technically ended, we stayed close…as close as we could with our social, educational, and economic differences looming between us. We’d go to the mall and watch movies and eat burritos and talk about boys. Once I brought her to my town to go to the horse-racing track. She told me she had never seen a horse in real life.

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scenery on her walk home from school

The educational and occupational obstacles Jaz and her family faced menaced her from the start. She entered into high school and immediately struggled on many levels; I think largely due to her poor English literacy skills and unstable home life. As a high-school teacher, I agonized over how she would manage to graduate with the tough New York State testing requirements. But I had hope.

But Hope was not enough to help Jaz pass the tough graduation requirements. She starting failing her classes and going to summer school to try to catch up. I was desperate for her to stay in school. I wanted so much for her to alter the course that her family’s poverty and lack of education had set her on. I felt more and more out of control as I called to check in on her periodically and encourage her to keep at it. She was moving from house to house, impoverished neighborhood to neighborhood, working in fast-food joints. She always quit (or got fired?) due to ‘issues with the boss’, or transportation. I actually offered her $400 if she graduated high school. I’m embarrassed I even dangled that in front of her.

Jasmin eventually decided traditional school was not for her so she started attending cosmetology school, or so she told me. I wondered how she was able to pay for it as neither she nor anyone in her life was working. Still, she hadn’t fallen pregnant which I took as a good sign. I tried to encourage her to wait until she was more settled to have kids. Looking back, “being settled” was not a concept or way of life she could relate to.

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off to see the horses

We continued our visits but I noticed her situation getting worse. There was a fire in her apartment. Her brother’s drug use was causing issues. Her mother didn’t work due to a back injury. She started dating a boy named Nico who didn’t speak English and starting physically abusing her. She told me that she “yelled at him” to stop and “straightened him out.” She had no plans to get any sort of degree and somehow managed to be in a worst position socially and economically than her first-generation mother.

Eventually Jaz  just stopped working altogether. This same abusive boyfriend supported her I suppose, with his job as a janitor at a bank in the next city over. And finally, at age 20 Jaz became pregnant. I wasn’t surprised. Babies guarantee you financial assistance from state agencies. She was thrilled. I was devastated. Her chances of going back to school or finding employment were crushed. She told me she was getting pre-natal care. I didn’t ask how.

Jaz called me at 25 weeks pregnant to tell me her water unexpectedly broke. I went and visited her in the hospital, bringing her some snacks and a fleece blanket for the baby. They performed a cerclage to try to keep the baby gestating longer, but within a week Jaz gave birth to a 4 pound girl. I was hopeful she would be fine but the baby, Harmony, had Down’s syndrome and a worrisome-sized hole in her heart. As we sat with her baby in the NICU, Jaz asked me to be the godmother. I told her no and that I was sorry; I couldn’t fill that role in Harmony’s life. I knew I could no longer be a part of what I was witnessing. It sounds horrible now that I say it.

Six months after Harmony was born, Jasmin called me to tell me she was pregnant with Nico’s second child, a boy. I don’t know how she’s getting by.

I have stopped visiting and communicating with Jaz. I never even saw the baby, as she was quarantined when I visited. She has two children, one with a severe disability, and an abusive boyfriend. No one in her family is employed. I feel like I have failed her. I wasn’t able to keep her in school, I didn’t help encourage her enough to seek adequate pre-natal care. I wasn’t able to help her break the cycle of what she was in. Maybe no one could, I don’t know. When I would talk to her, I would see in her so much failure; the school system with its lack of resources as an impoverished English language learner, her community with its plague of drugs and gangs, the health care system and its inability to inform and protect her and her baby, and worst of all, me, as a privileged, out-of-touch “mentor” thinking I had any power to change that.

 

* all names have been changed.

The joys of winter in Upstate NY

I am so mind- (and body-) numbingly sick of the winter. It’s been a particularly bad one up here this year in Upstate NY. I decided if I don’t publish the merits of this insufferably long season, I am going to do something insane like jump off my roof. Wait, that wouldn’t matter because there is a snowpile 7’ tall that would break my fall. (And don’t give me that BS about it technically being fall in October. If the heat’s on; it’s winter!)

snowstorm #2 of 6

snowstorm #2 of 6

  1. You have a great excuse not to go out if you hibernate like a fat, despondent, hairy bear feel like being a homebody. The excuses are endless and all highly plausible- I’m snowed into my driveway, I’m iced out of my car, DPW hasn’t plowed my street, my body temperature is at a dangerously low 95°, etc.
  2. If your dog poops in a snowbank, you can just leave it there because there’s a strong chance in less than 48 hours there will be enough snowfall to completely cover it.
  3. Leg-shaving and pedicure maintenance are real low on the list of priorities.
  4. Some people think snow in and of itself is pretty freakin’ awesome. I know a Filipina girl who told me the first time her grandmother saw snow upon moving to the US, she stayed up all night long just to stare at it.
  5. Chili in the crock pot just tastes so much better when it’s below freezing outside.
  6. From October to May my windows stay sealed shut, which greatly reduces how much my neighbor’s dogs’ incessant barking pisses me off. Everything is kind of muted and peaceful.
  7. Fleece jammies! Is there nothing better?! Yes, there is. Fleece socks and fleece blankets.
  8. For 5 months or so, I get out of throwing the Kong to my dog outside in the frigid cold. All her toys get buried, layer by layer, starting with December’s snowfall. (It got so cold this year that I would wait inside for her to come up to the door with her toy so I could throw it from the warmth of my house. That was pathetic.) However, it’s fun when the snow melts and she rediscovers her toys; it’s like doggie Christmas!

    "I just don't understand why you won't play with me."

    “I just don’t understand why you won’t play with me.” – Toni

  9. No moving the lawn!
  10. I live in a resort town which is very crowded — some would say overrun– with tourists in the summer months. Winter gives up a reprieve from all the visitors- happy hours are extended, restaurants lower their prices, and we can snag a good parking spot downtown. I just realized this contributes to me drinking and eating more and walking less. Sigh. ‘Merica!
  11. All that less exposure to the sun (as the sun generally doesn’t really shine bright or get past a 30 degree angle at this longitude) must result in a reduced chance of getting skin cancer. Right?!
  12. Running in the cold is the best. Heat fatigues me and once I get started, I warm right up. I love it.
  13. You can go cross country skiing, ice-fishing, skiing, even do some winter hiking.
  14. Snow days! And as a teacher, getting paid for them. I still feel the same giddiness sitting riveting through the school closure listings that scroll on the local news.
  15. Shoveling burns 300 calories an hour. (This has been proven; I wore my Garmin HR monitor once after a storm).
  16. And of course, endless snuggling with the people and animals around you for body warmth.
My favorite place to hike with the doggies

My favorite place to hike with the doggies. See Winnie there?

Things I gave up after 30… and things I didn’t

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un-corpse like

un-corpse like

1. Going out socially without bright lipstick. My dear friend A inspired me to   copied my dear friend A’s bold lip choices after I realized my corpse-like pallor needed a little umph.

2. Thinking or hoping people will change.

decades old

Decades old. This is actually in my spice cabinet. As we speak.

3. Saying “retarded.” What a nasty, offensive use of a word. I am ashamed I ever used it.

4. Lying to my mother. It’s futile.

5. Checking expiration dates. My theory is: if it doesn’t smell like rot, don’t waste it. If it’s moldy, just bite around it.← That is actually the curry I use.It had a price sticker of $.62. It was my grandmother’s. I’m sure my GI tract is teeming with bacteria. I have not had a major stomach issue since the parasite issue on my trip to Peru in 2005.

6. Sleeping in. I’m annoyingly bright-eyed and bushy-tailed at 5:45 am, latest.

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Woke up 10 minutes before my alarm again! Let’s do this!

7. Wishing I was thinner, quieter, richer, taller, and/or more spontaneous. I yam who I yam.

8.  Apologizing when I wasn’t in the wrong. Especially if someone knocks into me… You bumped into me, mister.

9. Light beer. I just…. I can’t.

10. Changing my oil at 3,000 miles. Lies. All lies.

11. Answering my cell phone if it’s an unknown number.  An immature, socially-evasive habit, truly.  Actually, after 30 I don’t even really ‘chat’ on the phone. Strictly business, yo. I got blogs to read, cats to pet, DIY projects to fuck up.

12. Asking my parents for money. I do humbly accept envelopes of birthday cash, however.

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my AIM profile, c. 2004

13. Posting Dashboard Confessional lyrics. Can’t you see, can’t you see, that the charade is over? Ah, college and all its self-absorbed melodrama. Miss those days.

14. Eating low-fat or fat-free versions of anything. Loaded with fillers, salt and sugar. No thanks.

15.Complaining about things I can’t change.*

      *this is a total lie. I complain constantly.

And 11 things I will never give up

1. Listening to Broadway musical soundtracks. My favorites are A Chorus Line, Rent, Guys & Dolls, Chicago and Phantom of the Opera. 

Please tell me you know this song.

Please tell me you know this song.

2. Stuffing my ugly toes into towering 2.5 inch high heels every once in a while and going out dancing with my friends. Nowadays that’s only if it’s a bachelorette party and we all do prefer to be home by midnight.

3. Working on my split. Like, a gymnastics-style split. I could never do it when I was a gymnast but for some reason, a few days a week I hunker down on the mats at the gym and try. Try so hard.

4. Trying to be a better person. I yam who I yam but I can still try to fix my flaws.

so soft

so soft

5. Eating yogurt with a baby spoon. It’s weird. It’s creepy. It’s what I do every morning. I like the plastic tips. –>

6. Wearing fleecy, occasionally stained, tea-pot, polka-dot, or cartoony pajama pants. (Is there such thing as ‘adult’ PJs, anyway?)

7. Wistfully listening to Dashboard Confessional or any other mawkishly fabulous early 2000’s music. Not posting.

download8. Reading Archie comics. The love triangle will never get old to me. UPDATE: Lena Dunham is writing a series!

9. Talking baby talk to my husband, self dogs. Deep down, I know they understand me.

10. Picking my nose. I just…. really, really enjoy doing it.  

11. Accepting that good people do bad things and bad things happen to good people. It’s all part of the game.

You haven’t jumped off a cliff from wedding planning? Good, here’s more advice

…continued from Part I Here

  1. This progression WILL occur:
      1. “OMG can’t believe I’m engaged, so much time to plan! The playlist! The pallette! Ooo, letterpress! Look, a beaded bodice!”
      2. “Wow, I never knew there was so much involved. How many passed appetizers do I have to choose from? Why did I have to order a size 14 if I’m a 6?”
      3. “I have to have peonies. Blush peonies. I don’t care if they only bloom in August.”
      4. “Why is Uncle Tom being such a douche about his table assignment?”
      5. “I need either 8 glasses of wine, a gun, or an elopement.”
      6. “What can’t I stop crying?”
      7. “Fuck all this. It is what it is.”rs_500x282-140123124343-giphy

2.  Everyone will have an opinion about what you should do, how much weight you should lose, why getting married in a church is the only option, where you should go on your honeymoon. Smile and nod, honey… smile and nod.

invites

DIY invites. Just say no.

3.  Completely overestimate the time, money and energy it takes to do your DIY projects. Painting those wooden numbers took oh, about 3 weekends more than I thought. Same with addressing the invites.

4.  30 minute ceremony. Max 45 if you provide alcohol upon guests’ arrival.

5. The 15-20% “No” responses RSVP rule is surprisingly accurate. We had a lot of very local guests and had 18 out of 134 say no.

6.  Get the open bar. Cut the décor. Never heard anyone say “I mean, I really enjoyed those 9 complimentary G & T’s they provided, but I was just really underwhelmed by the pintuck linens.”

7.  Don’t think for one second your bridesmaids will wear those dresses again. But – ! No. Stop. I don’t care if they’re black or comfy or if they have pockets. They didn’t choose them and they won’t re-wear them. Plus, it’s highly like there’s a shit-ton of booze spilled on them and they’re not paying to get it dry-cleaned.

bm

They will never, ever wear those dresses again.

8. Being a slight control-freak is fine IF you can cleverly conceal that reign of power to not seem 100% totalitarian.bridezilla

9. People will shock and awe you. Guests you thought would never come, come and have a ball. Your sweet aunt swings for that Dyson you thought you’d never receive. Friends you thought would never miss bridal events won’t make it. It can be wonderful and horrible.

10. Simplify, simplify, simplify. A wise website person once told me, “Planning a wedding is as stressful as you make it out to be.”

11. Assign tables to guests. They will appreciate the structure. Do also remember that trying to get said guests to seats after cocktail hour is like herding cats.

No one will dance to this.

No one will dance to this.

12. If you want your wedding to be a ‘dance party’, play music that the masses like to dance to. I once had a friend who loved DMB and requested such for his wedding. Thankfully, his fiancé convinced him otherwise, as  a formal adult celebration is not the time to re-live the summer of 1996.

13. Write your thank-you notes within a month. The traditional one-year rule was set at a time when thank-yous must include a photo of the bride and groom from their wedding, and prints took six months to get back from the photographer. This may or may not be internet lore. Either way, don’t be rude. I did mine three weeks after the wedding and it was a weight off my shoulder and the guests and our conversation was more vivid in my memory.

14. (This is a tough pill to swallow, but) realize your wedding day does not trump others’ work schedule, baby-making plans (I just don’t know why she can’t wait to get pregnant…”), financial situations, and vacation scheduling. People will make every effort to be there for you, but sometimes it’s just not possible.

I was determined to eat the stuffed haddock.

I was determined to eat the stuffed haddock.

15.  On the big day, try to relax. Smile. Kiss your new husband.  Eat all that yummy food you (or someone) paid a boatload for.

17. You might feel light-headed for 3 days after your wedding. Actually, this is probably not normal. I felt like I was in a Dali painting and thought I was going to have to get an IV of fluids. Or opiates.

18. Know it’s ok and perfectly normal to be disappointed with how things turned out. If you’ve learned nothing from Bridezillas, you know weddings can derail astonishingly fast. I am living proof that all the little things that bothered you will fade with time. And you will be blissfully married….

If you married the right person 😉 !

19. Congrats! You’re married!! Now…

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Running and running

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Time to lay off the Ramen. [November 2004]

 The first time I ran a 5k race I gave myself mono. Shivering-in-July, sleep-for-days, sweat-through-your-clothes-in-the-pharmacy-line mononucleosis. I’m sure it had been lurking within me (I was in college, after all, and am pretty sure I can pinpoint the misguided bar makeout session from which it derived), but my over-exertion in the 3.1 miler forced it angrily to the surface. My body was decidedly ‘anti-running’, I deduced, somewhat relieved. I swore I would never run again.

But after a few months, the lure of a $15 registration fee for a local race somehow enticed me, and I trudged through more training jogs. (No one could consider what I was doing then a run.) My lungs burned. My thighs trembled. Calluses grew. I was at my all-time highest weight at that point, thanks to late night pizza deliveries and a general laissez-faire attitude towards any unnecessary physical movement. I felt sluggish and unhappy with myself. I was a gymnast in the past; I told myself I wasn’t equipped for 28 minutes of sustained, monotonous torture. But I kept on ‘running’, starting with 10-minute miles, two to three miles at a time, swearing, sweating, indignant. And yet somehow energized at the end of it all. Running, I told myself, I would not quit.

Three days a week I grudgingly laced up, frustrated at myself and the painful lack of progress. Many times I wanted to give up. I’m surprised I didn’t. My whole life I had been quitting things; abandoning projects and ideas when I got restless or if I felt I couldn’t succeed. Or when I did succeed. Scrapbooking, ballet, learning Portuguese, competitive gymnastics… even a genuine but ultimately embarrassing attempt at lacrosse in high school. Maybe running would be the one thing I wouldn’t quit. The logistics of it seemed simple enough–  iPod charged, right foot, left foot, watch the car turning, right, left, flip off car that just cut you off, repeat. Cool shoes every few months. With wary resolve — and possibly for vanity as I thought of the calories I was burning — I decided I was going to keep running.

And slowly, achingly slowly, the runs became easier. One summer morning, about five years after I started running, I ran six miles. Six miles. I couldn’t believe it. My lungs burned a little, my blisters grew, but I noticed my thighs jiggled less. My chub-rub was becoming less inflamed. It’s about damn time, I huffed. It took over half a decade to get my mile under 9:00. More than the pace improvement though, was the fact I hadn’t yet given up, something I was convinced I would do.

So I kept running.

I ran when I moved into downtown Saratoga Springs, bobbing in the sultry mornings past the historic horse-racing track and the bustling bed and breakfasts. I ran through breakups, granting myself thirty minutes of reprise from painful conversations and tense silences. I ran with our family’s dog; our old mutt, until her muscles got too weak and her neck too thin for her collar. I ran on the treadmill, shamelessly peering over at my neighbor’s MPH. I ran around friends’ lake homes and on vacation in Mexico and on the boardwalks in Southern France. (By the way, no one runs in the French Riviera). I ran into the icy Upstate New York winter mornings. I ran through trails with friends and with dogs. But I mostly ran alone.

I ran until my lungs no longer burned. I was stunned to find I was running – and enjoying —  20-30 miles a week.

I signed up for a 10k. Another one. A 15k. A half-marathon around a pristine Adirondack Lake. Another one, which I completed at an 8:04 pace. Instead of searing with pain, my lungs burned with pride. I was shocked to see I had lost 26 pounds over the years. I was rarely tired. I was eating better. I was stronger.

This November, I celebrated my 8-year running anniversary by committing to a triathlon. The biking and swimming has been a dynamic and challenging addition to my workouts, but my first love is still running. And I realized I have become, for lack of a better word, a non-quitter. Not just while out with my trusty Garmin satellite-tracking me. I am finishing projects. Taking my time. Trusting and believing in myself. Not giving in to restlessness or even triumphs. I truly believe running has created within me an undeniable grit that I never saw coming at my initial laborious 10:00 pace. And that, my friends; the unexpected self-resolve and tenacity that running has brought me, is a priceless gift in the form of a pair of Asics GT-2000s.

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Musings of a gym b*tch

I am a member of a wonderful local fitness center. It is public, offers tons of services, and is affordable so therefore I share my exercise space with all sorts of people. These are all thoughts that have popped into my head while exercising.

  1. Why are you wearing a regular underwire bra? Go put a sports bra on. I don’t care if your boobs are small.
  2. If your hair is down, you’re not taking this seriously.

    thanks, girl

  3. If your perfume and makeup is sensed from 10 feet away, you’re not taking this seriously.
  4. Follow the damn rules. Sign up for the treadmill. Take your salt-encrusted shoes off before you get on the elliptical. Has your mama taught you nothing?
  5. Yes, that synthetic wicking material really heightens your B.O stench. Cotton is advisable for some people. Woof.
  6. Wait, why do you have BO? Deodorant was invented in 1941.
  7. Wait, what did people smell like before 1941?
  8. OMG I smell like B.O.
  9. Wipe your machine down. I did not sign up for body fluid exchange with my $40 membership.
  10. Why walk on the treadmill at 1.4 mph?! What’s the point?! You’re not old. You’re not limping. You’re not even that heavy!
  11. Don’t rubberneck from your treadmill and look at my distance and MPH. Just kidding, go right ahead. I’m totally comparing my speed to yours too.
  12. You grunt and scream, I roll my eyes at you. Fair?
  13. Thank you, muscular gentleman, for helping me lift the ab machine to the correct height. I am appreciative even though here I have a constant scowl on my face.
  14. Don’t judge me if I run 6 miles and yet I get pissed and possibly yell when you snatch my parking spot close to the entrance. I’m fla15kwed, ok? Just let me be me.

I feel so…cleansed!