Tchotchkes and other questionable motives for running

Hooray for medals and other crap.

Hooray for medals and other crap.

I love Runner’s World, the magazine, probably more than any of the other of the publications we collect like hoarders around here. It’s got great recipes, fun gear reviews and good features.

They usually also have tips and programs with reasonable goals for lazy ordinary people like me. Titles like Train for your first marathon in ten minutes a day tend to attract such people with both feet planted firmly in the short-term commitment universe as myself.

And that esteemed publication is not paying me for this, by the way, although I’m all kinds of amenable to that.

This month I had to check out an article on the habits of highly motivated runners. Not to see what kinds of changes to make to my own routine, mind you, but to pat myself on the back for having mastered many of these without even trying.

I was kind of flabbergasted to find I do not, in fact, possess all of these habits right off the bat. But it’s not my fault. (more…)

Ski family constants

Tantrum on the mountain.

Tantrum on the mountain.

I’m a summer person. I love sundresses, dinners on a patio, pedicures, and outdoor concerts. Once I got over the fact that I sweat profusely, summer and I realized we had kind of a thing going on. The season’s passing always makes me feel a little morose.

Ski season is only thing that makes it okay that it’s no longer summer.

When we were first married, Mike and I had about enough scratch to make renting a video a special occasion. I’d never been on downhill skis. Mike had grown up on the sport. We somehow found an inexpensive pair of skis, boots and poles at a garage sale for me, and Mike set out to teach me how to ski….

….which pretty much means he led me to the most harrowing run on the mountain and pointed downhill, then bit his tongue while I yelled at him, then cried, then took my skis off and walked to the lodge. (more…)

Be well, Katie

Broke and Hungry on Pacific Avenue“Katie’s out there,” I overheard someone tell Lee.

He stood like a bouncer at the end of the line where the trays were handed through the window. He nodded dispassionately as people picked up their dinners, one by one. Sometimes he recognized someone who’d been in line before.

“No seconds,” Lee told them. This was only the first shift. There had to be enough for everyone.

Katie had been escorted out the week before. Unruly behavior is what we overheard. She was back again, had been spotted in the parking lot, stomping and rubbing her hands together in the cold, waiting for the doors to open.

“She’s the one in the black hoodie.”

Lee shrugged.

“We’ll see how she does,” he said. (more…)

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Sunday night lights

four-treesPoor Mike came in last night in a huff from fighting his annual battle with our Christmas lights.

What we now call the Markley Holiday Lights Smack Down usually happens something like this:

Step 1: Everybody else in the neighborhood puts up their lights.

Some of our neighbors trace the eaves of their homes with perfectly straight lines. They artfully drape various and sundry trees and shrubs with tasteful strands of LEDs. Others barf up a maelstrom of seizure-inducing twinkle-rama the likes of which would make the Griswold’s cringe. We have all types.

Step 2: We all (except Mike) ohh and ahh about everybody else’s Christmas lights.

Step 3: Mike declares we’re not having Christmas lights this year. (more…)

Of pizza-lovers and poor memory

Lessons learned one recent frenzy-filled month

Hey, I did that thing! You know, that thing where you set yourself up with an impossible task and then you’re really bitchy to your family and neglect your work and health and all the household chores for a whole month while you get it done?

No, silly, not Christmas. Guess again.

I wrote fifty thousand and some words for National Novel Writing Month. And I’m still nowhere close to being done with the actual novel, so no, you can’t read it. But I have the cutest outfit picked out for my photo on the book jacket.

And since my brain is a big pile of goobers after that, you’re going to get a list for today’s blog:

Stuff I discovered while neglecting everything else for NaNoWriMo:

... and then I got this cool banner

… after all of which I got this cool banner

I live with supportive people. Today Colin told me he had to come up with an epilogue for a book they read in class and he enjoyed writing creatively. “I can see why you do it,” he said. (more…)

Slow down season

I am not crazy about the holiday season.

There, I’ve said it. Go ahead with your heckling and bah-humbug jokes.

It’s not that anything traumatic has ever happened at Christmas to make me dread it. It’s mostly that there’s this weird thing that happens: if you do something once that turns out to not suck, you try it again the next year. If you do something two years in a row, it’s tradition, and suddenly, God forbid you buy your tree from any other lot, or miss the Real Santa, with the Real Beard and the Big Laugh who hangs out only at this event on this particular day.

When you’re a parent, there’re a whole lot of those traditions to pass down to your own kids, and then all kinds of new traditions that somehow take root. It’s like OCD, holiday edition. Don’t forget to set up the holiday model train that never works, or use those tree-shaped hangers that always seem on the verge of falling off the mantle and stabbing someone who’s grabbing at a stocking.

I am so grateful the Elf on the Shelf thing was never a phenomenon in our home. I bristle a little bit when I’m told what to do, and figuring out what to do with the dang Elf on a daily basis would have probably driven me to drink.

You know what I mean. Drink more. (more…)

How to talk to your mother

A communication guide for teenagers

Jack and I were in the car the other day, rushing to get him to his violin lesson.

I love that he still plays violin, and that we’ve gotten way past the screechy stuff to a place where I get to hear some lovely after-dinner music – a therapeutic follow up to the hours we have to spend browbeating the kid into practicing … but perhaps a topic for another blog.

On this particular day, like most, we were late.

It’s moments like these I almost despair of him ever managing on his own. The kid is fifteen years old and I swear he hasn’t learned to tell time or put his underwear on right-side-out yet.

“I told you we were leaving in five minutes, which is when you should be finding your shoes and getting your music together,” I said.

Listen to me, going on like I am the world’s most prompt person. I always think I can eek out one more thing before flying out the door, and that maybe all the stoplights will be green, that the traffic will be light, that I’ll be able to slip in just before the meeting starts. It happens. Sometimes.

Mostly not.

Rude, I know, this late thing.

And, it was kind of my regular MO anyway, then kids came along and compounded the problem about a zillion percent, as kids will. (more…)

The Weird, Obscure, or Slightly Silly: Thanksgiving Edition

The second-tier-but-still-deserving-of-recognition stuff.

With all due respect to all the health, family, friends, roof-over-our-heads and a great meal before us conversation; here are a few things that don’t get the gratitude they deserve in normal Thanksgiving lists, but still deserve a little shout out:

The fact that neither kid has ever had head lice – Knock on wood, throw salt over my shoulder, and cross myself for good measure, none of these creepy crawlies has ever been borne over our threshold via any of our progeny. I’ve known people who sought family counseling after strenuous rounds of de-lousing. Nobody needs that stress around here.

My eyesight – I’m just really doggone glad to be able to see. My eyes have been deteriorating lately and while it might be funny to have a nickname like Magoo, it won’t be long before I’ve graduated from the grocery store readers and into something more legit. On my last visit, my eye doctor said I was near sighted and far-sighted and something in between, and that I needed different prescriptions for reading, driving, or staring at a screen. Things haven’t improved since then. I just got a postcard in the mail that said it was time for a check up.

Yes it was in big print, smarty clown. Yes, I’ll call. (more…)

Math doesn’t get me at all

pinterest_mathAmazon totally missed the mark recently. I took it as a good sign.

This week I had one of those I completely suck at everything moments. Shockingly enough, it had to do with social media.

Also shockingly enough, I haven’t perfected the art of expressing sarcasm in writing. Just imagine that last sentence was dripping with it.

So, I was thinking hey, all my bloggy friends are raving about Pinterest, and how many readers they get from Pinterest. Maybe I should put some effort into Pinterest.

Pinterest, Pinterest, Pinterest.

I’ve written before about how Pinterest is conspiring with my inner Julia Child to ruin my self-esteem, so it’s not like Pinterest and I have gotten off on the right foot. This effort has the potential to end badly. (more…)

Snow morning session

snow_morning copyChip, scrape, chip, chip scrape.

The early winter sky a brilliant blue.
Sun reflects shimmery on white, blinding me.

Chip, scrape, chip, chip scrape.

It was a little thing.
And then the next to follow the first. Both little.
One cover-up leading, as it will, to another.

Chip, scrape, chip, chip scrape. (more…)