Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The point of freaking out about it

So I'm doing the things, running eating hydrating cross-training planning scheduling gel-ing, getting up at the crack of dawn and plotting my every breath on garmin-approved electronic stationery- in short, I am marathon training...

And it feels like it's getting worse.  


I don't know why I'm surprised, there's a *reason* I chose runonthesun to house my blog, and although a different reason I call it "I, Phoenix, Running", the image is still apropos. 

Because this is running outside, anytime after 3am or later than, say, May.
Actually, this may be an actual picture from my canal run last weekend that took over three hours...

Every year I go through the surprise and denial, surprise redux then depression, then iron-fisted determination and finally tear-stained, mercy-begging whimpering surrender of the summer season here- it's the Arizona version of the old reliable stages of grief.  Except, there's no "acceptance" at the end, not for me.  Just crying and the sad-sack admission of defeat.  And I've been through it 34 times, so it seems stupid to be surprised-

Except that's one of the stages.  So I guess I should just get on with it. 

Summer hit a little late this year, and when it started to get hot in June it did startle me, bc I was lulled into believing that life could go on being pleasant, as can be imagined in winter here.  It can get seriously nice, 40s and 50s and 60s without a cloud in the sky, nary a natural disaster to raise your heart rate while friends are shovelling their driveways just for the priviledge of getting to work.  I do feel lucky, then.  Then 100* happens and I'm surprised, but not thrown- denial happens pretty fast the first time around.  This year I kept finding myself outside thinking, "wow, it's June, and while it's what I would call "hot", I could run for a while in this and be okay." And I would.  And a bunch of times I checked my thermometer after these little present-moments and found it was 100*!  Elated!  I must finally be acclimating like my mother always says I will!

NO.  It's the denial.

I am fine! I am awesome! I can run forever! I-  wha?!

I got some good training in during June, but the lack of humidity coupled with it being the easiest part of marathon training- *the beginning*- led to some denial-related unrealistic expectations.  So as the humidity of July crept northward, I started to slow down, overheat, generally struggle...and not have any idea what was going on. 

If I had, like, lived here all my life, I might have recognized that this is a normal part of the progression, but noooo- and even when I do realize this is a factor, it doesn't seem to matter.  How can a little humidity be SO BAD when the rest of the country has it so much higher-??  I never have an answer for this question.  Surprise, the redux.

Over the last couple of weeks, some hard runs got the best of me.  Being that I'm already one of the slowest (*cough* by far, shut up *cough*), it's hard not to notice when something drags me back even farther...and while I acknowledge I made several mistakes in one of my ill-fated runs there were enough others where I was just dragging ass that it's started to feel like a pattern.  Welcome to depression.  Irrational?  Probably.  Is it still enough to convince me I'm screwed and everything is fucked?  Yeah, it totally is.

That happens here all the time. You get used to it.

And, just like with the stages of grief, the process is messy and I vascillate into and out of stages, making progress and regress by turns.  After last weekend's also-dismal long run, where I actually called nT and made him talk to me as I lumbered through my eleventh mile, I rallied and ran a six-mile hill workout on the treadmill *two days later*, even though my schedule called for five.  (I was thinking five apart from the warm up/cool down. Doh.) And even though I'd already sworn off running outside after two weeks of miserable long runs, I whipped out my iron-fisted determination for a recovery run in the park at 6am last week.  

but- what if I'm already outside?

That's one of my favorite quotes from this week, though it doesn't really up the ante on running here in the summer.

So, after another huge struggle of a treadmill run yesterday where I once again fell short of my mileage and a bit of an anxiety attack fretting about it all day, I emailed my coach.  Basically, I said "I totally suck and I'm pretty sure I can't do any of this and if you're some kind of wizard now would be the time to work your magic bc otherwise I'm so screwed.  Also, thanks."

Super luckily, my coach *is* a wizard, and she said all the right things:

Hi Tara,
Much of the challenge you are experiencing may be due to building miles during the hottest and most humid time of the year. Much like altitude, running in hot, humid weather is a lot more demanding on the body, especially when you are a beginner and building miles for a marathon. You have to work harder to cool yourself, and often you'll notice heavier breathing and a higher heart rate, even at your normal running pace. Worse, in humid weather, sweat doesn't evaporate efficiently and your body really struggles to cool itself.
Be aware that hot workouts take more out of you physically and require more recovery time. It sounds like you are not recovering between runs.
But you will acclimate given time. The easiest way to train is to run by your effort (how you feel and your breathing) and use your watch as a secondary source of information. In other words, when you head for your next run, instead of running at your normal pace, run at the effort that feels like your normal pace. It will be much slower, but you'll get in a solid workout.
Goal is to run at a pace that keeps your core temperature from overheating. You may have to walk/run and that is JUST FINE!!
Please don’t stress about this. Each person adjusts and adapts differently. We will make as many adjustments as needed to get the training just right for you!! Keep your attitude positive. Please do not worry about what doesn’t work for you. Let’s put effort into what WILL work for you!!!
·         For the next 4 weeks, run each workout by time, not miles.
·         Take the miles on your schedule and x by 10 minutes and that is the amount of time you need to run that day. Run at a talk pace, EVEN if you need to walk/run!!
·         For example. This Saturday we are running 12 miles. You need to run/walk 120 minutes or 2 hours. Run out one hour and back.
·         This will make it easier to schedule workouts in each week and it is easier mentally.

Take a deep breath, remind yourself that you can do anything and that you are willing to be flexible and let’s carry on!!!

Relieved.  I mean, I'd have to say I sort of knew this already, but having someone else be the voice of reason was exactly what I needed.  Plus, having her blessing to downgrade and knowing I can still be on track for November = insanely necessary.  Now all I have to do is nut up and keep the faith.  And resist the urge to freak out or break myself against August.  Arizona, you win.  I give.  Uncle!!

"Hot AGAIN, Phoenix you bastard?!  I DON'T LIKE HOT!!  And I'm wearing a SWEATER! A fucking sweeaaterrhuhhuhhurrrarrrgghhhh whyyy...."
And, if I'm still here next year, maybe yall can remind me what I'm in for when I start in with the surprise all over again.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

This box sure is soapy...

I'm adding a new blog to my list of people to keep up with, Health on the Run, mainly bc when I stumbled onto it, the first thing I read was her opinion piece about #surviveon35 and I really appreciated it.  Living in a place that is somehow simultaneously still the wild wild west and also an intensely red state (in more than just temperature), I get really frustrated with the politics I'm surrounded by.  Without tipping my hand too too much, I will just say that I...don't agree with a lot of what happens around here.  And apart from the insane decisions of our unqualified governor, one of the things that bothers me the most is the homogeneity of the political discussions, especially around finance.
Ok, it makes me laugh that when I google "arizona governor crazy", 
the second result is her own home page!
Way way too many times I've heard people here saying things like "I started out with nothing, and look where I am now!", and "if I can do it, so can they!"  Uh, no, 'they' can't.  Want proof?  People are still homeless.  I can't tell you how much it bothers me that people somehow frame poverty as a problem of motivation; I certainly don't want to fall into the very trap I'm complaining about and speak for people living below the poverty line, but if I was living in a shitty neighborhood worrying all the time about the safety of my kids and how I'm going to make ends meet on $1500/mo and whether I'd be fired from my $7/hr job if the bus dropped me off late again...I'd be pretty damn *motivated* to do something better.  I have a really hard time seeing how motivation would be the main bottleneck there. 
     I really think a simple look at the numbers, or (god forbid!) a quick conversation with someone in this situation could disabuse us of our pie-in-the-sky bootstrap ideas.  Of course we look at people like Oprah or whoever the celebrity hero du jour is and say, yes but obviously people *do*, but the whole point is *that is the exception*.  That's why it's notable.  That's why we tell those stories over and over and why they inspire us, because we know innately it's not the norm, not an easy thing to do.  Looking at that number again, the federal guideline for "poverty level" for 3 people (say that's a single mom and two kids, just to put a face on it) is currently $18,530/year.  $1500/mo, it doesn't sound outrageously bad at first...until you realize it takes 51 hours per week at a $7/hr job just to make that paltry amount, and you're bringing home just $375/wk for all that labor.  Child care? Transportation? Health care? And, by the way, make sure you're socking away some savings, because you want to get out of there, don't you, and on to something better-?  How can you expect things to get better if you don't plan for the future?! 

So I really agree with Lauren's analysis (link above)- it's really not enough, and I think possibly even counter-productive, to bring awareness to poverty, nutrition, and the politics of funding them by having a few people step slightly out of their comfort zones for one week.  I mean, you can do anything for a week.  I've done crash diets that lasted longer than that.  Who will come up with the best ideas, who will make the tastiest meals?  What will their experience be-?  To me the real question is: how does this exercise shed light on whether we reasonably think $35/day is enough, do we need to provide more to those in need whom those programs are designed to serve, and what other help or services do we need to add on so that money will go as far as it can?

I know I am on a (maybe not even a clear) soapbox here, and it might be interrupting your day.  I'm sorry.  I just think, as one of the huge contingent of white, upper-middle-class, overeducated native-english-speaking Arizonans, it's a responsibility to recognize the gigantic, wild advantage I have over everyone who lacks even one of these characteristics.  White?  More likely to be hired, less likely to be incarcerated, you'll get into university more easily even if your record is the same as someone of another race. (Affirmative Action? Exactly.)  Middle class or upper-middle?  Chances are your parents were too, or had some opportunities that brought them there before you were born- either way, you're more likely to have had some access to them (ie they were emotionally available and/or home from work sometimes), a decent education in a school where you weren't afraid for your life, possibly had someone make meals for you out of real food occasionally, if not daily- you probably also had some kind of education about health and nutrition in school, as well as the ability to pay attention to it due to having had enough to eat every day you turned up on some form of regular transportation.  Chances are your parents didn't have debilitating mental illness, or if they did had access to some kind of care that allowed them to continue functioning in the middle-class working spectrum, thus enabling you too to stay there.  Educated?  We spend so much time goofing around and partying in college that we forget just how much that degree is worth; just the bare fact that you were able to spend however many years delaying your entry into the workforce is a huge clue that you're in a "luxury" category, in the grand scheme of things.  Even if you were able to work your way through college, don't discount the incredible advantages you must have had in order to make that work- maybe your job(s) paid more than $7/hr, maybe you were able to qualify for loans, maybe your previous education was good enough and consistent enough that you were even able to read well enough to get into school...And a native english speaker?  Srsly.  I marvel every day that people are out there, struggling over bigger hurdles than I have, *in some other language*.  What?!  I mean, plunk me down in France, even, with a subsistence budget and no other resources- I'm not completely confident that my college-educated ass could wrangle a simple job at Le McDonald's in time to save my kid from starving to death.  I think about that every time people say "they're in our country, they should learn to speak the goddamn language!"  Yeah, and just how long do you think that takes, hoss?  Again, is the problem *motivation*, do you think people *want* to live in a place where they don't understand anyone and work menial jobs cleaning toilets and touching your dirty dishes-?  Well, actually I guess they do, because they're doing it- which just makes the point that they either don't have a choice or whatever the alternative is is actually *worse*.  WORSE.  Is anyone feeling a tingle of compassion yet-?  Bueller?

"Ahhhh ... the simple life of poor people. Relaxing in the grass outside of my 2 million dollar home." 
(one of my favorite captions from his article :) )

I love reading John Cheese on Cracked.com, and even though it's a comedy site, I think this article of his about being "working poor" makes some great points.  I hadn't experienced or even thought of a lot of them before I read it- I mean, who actually uses all those payday loan places littering the valley?  It seems so stupid to me, like, don't people know they charge you out the ass and you can cash that check yourself at an actual bank-?  Yeah, turns out...not.  Hence, all those payday loan places littering the valley.  This is also a hilarious take on the subject and somewhere (yes, I'm too lazy to go searching for it) he makes the case for internet access being treated as a utility, as so many things now depend on it or are made vastly easier by having it...that's another one I really hadn't thought of, as I sit here in front of a computer, with a computer in my bag, checking my tiny phone-computer periodically for messages...Starting to feel pretty damn lucky over here... 

I'm sure there are a thousand more advantages I also haven't thought of.  Not trying to make an exhaustive list.  I just want to say, there are so many things that go into the politics of poverty that we short-change everyone when we oversimplify and overgeneralize about circumstances we don't understand.  That kind of thinking leads to the NIMBY syndrome- 'not in my back yard!'; the idea that we can just push unpleasant truths farther and farther away from us until they not only don't bother us but don't affect us anymore is asinine and short-sighted.  I understand you may not want to think your tax dollars are feeding some lazy woman who keeps having kids 'so she'll get more from the government' (this is a really common construction around here and again- for me, it doesn't pass the common-sense test...), *but* do you really understand the implications of not providing her with assistance?  Taking care of the lowest economic classes of people is just good crowd-control; at its most selfish, it's a way to keep "undesirables" OUT of your back yard!  Can you imagine how much higher crime would be if more people were actually *stealing to avoid starvation* rather than stealing to make ends meet-?  Or how about this: I totally understand not wanting to be forced to pay for health insurance- but what about the extra cost you're paying indirectly *already* for those who aren't insured-?  I wouldn't say I have any special love for the health-care industry, but these are some good points:

     "American hospitals don't turn away people who show up at emergency rooms...When the system winds up providing free care to people, or is unable to collect on bills it sends out, the costs have to be made up elsewhere. Health-care providers look to make up for these losses by paying employees less, or by charging higher fees to those who can pay (i.e. the insured). In other words, the cost of providing care to the uninsured is already socialized throughout the system and the economy. It's just not being socialized among those who are not insured."

It's a less-visible part of the debate, but one everyone is thinking about anyway, just not saying: 'what does this do FOR ME?  I would argue, providing for others who are worse off *is* providing for yourself.  Funding schools keeps kids off the streets- and off your lawn!  Maintaining social programs for low-income families makes their lives better and less desperate- thus less likely to steal your escalade rims for lunch money.  Providing not just financial assistance but nutrirional education and better access to quality foods costs society money, but it also decreases the incidence of social ills caused by mental illness and infirmity, thus directly lowering your tax and insurance bills each month- that old adage "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure" can be translated into dollars and cents (I almost typed 'sense', ha I should have left it!).  What's good for all of us is...well, does it need to be said?  It's good for all of us. 

You're right, little girl.  Health care, a living wage, and a good education are toys only you should get to have!  Fuck human rights after all! 

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

EEEEEEEEEEEE NYC!! (Marathon, that is)


There was a course map in our team update email today, and I am kind of excited just looking at it.  EEEEE! 

I sure hope I feel the same way once I'm out there!..."Believe, Train, Become", right? Ahhhh so scary. :)

Monday, July 16, 2012

Oh the mistakes I made

So, marathon training is well under way, and of course Saturday was long run day. But, given that I've been running 10 miles if not easily or consistently, then at least..some...I didn't think much of our prescribed run down San Juan road at South Mountain. I figured it would just be long; if anything, maybe a little easier bc I heard the term "rolling hills". I've had better luck in races that have a little bit of a roll to them, whether from the alleviation of boredom or the chance for my legs to change it up a bit I, don't know. I figured this would be like that.

I was so wrong.

First, let me tell you, since we don't have hills here in AZ, there's kind of two choices: flat running or hiking. I'm not a fan of hiking, tho I sometimes chase my mom around on her hikes, bc I'm super slow on uphill. Weak quads, probably, or something. There is a little bit of trail running scattered around that could be considered moderately hilly, but rather than rolling it generally is strewn with boulders and rocks of various sizes- not the most conducive for running, if you ask me. Whatever it is, it's out of the way and you have to search it out (read: drive) if you're into that kind of thing. I'm not. So let's just say I was "unprepared". We'll call that "Mistake #1", just for fun.

Now let me tell you: I am not so good at consistency. That should be obvious from the random schedule on which I update my blog; it applies to marathon training too. I do my best work when inspired for some reason, or at the last minute when fear sets in. This far out from a race...well, I wouldn't call it slacking, exactly, it's...fear of commitment? A magpie-like attention span? Negative self-talk that makes going for a run not seem like enough fun? Whatever it is, I fight to do anything consistently, and that includes taking a shower. (But, for you, I try. You're welcome.). It might be clear where I'm going with this; over the previous couple of weeks I'd missed plenty of runs. Coming up on last Friday, I'd missed all week. So, like the ridiculously gung-ho person I am, I decided to not only get in a run on my rest/cross-training day, but to make it a speed workout to make up for missing it on Wednesday. Mistake #2.

I also did it at a 1 incline. Mistake #3.

I haven't mentioned yet I don't think, but I'm in a yoga teacher training program that schedules blocks of training every other month; being that the schedule is somewhat sparse and then jam-packed, I try to take full advantage of the turbo-sessions when they come around... So naturally I had had 3-5hrs of asana every day last week and was getting a little burnt out by Friday, one of the reasons I missed some of my runs. That's Mistake #4... So I was super smart and didn't go to practice classes on Friday. 
One of the many things I learned this session: this super horrifying glute med/ IT stretch.  Attempt only if you hate yourself. Or, you know, want to be good to your body or something.

...but I did get up early to get some theory in before my run. Mistake #5, especially as we were having friends over later for a going-away party. I...could have used some sleep, maybe.

Mistake #6 I hesitate to even name as such, bc I had so much fun drinking and hanging out and playing games with everyone that I can't really say I regret it. We had omg so much fun on Friday night that the couple of drinks I figured I'd get away with turned into for-reals drunkenness, and staying up till something like midnight. Before a 4am wake up call. I'll go ahead and call that Mistakes #6 and 7.

So that's a bit of a deficit to start with when we turned up Saturday morning. If it hadn't been for The James I'm pretty sure I wouldn't have gotten out of bed. But I did, and we drove down to meet the group- and discovered that our super-early morning heat advantage is all but gone at this point in the year. What's more, our much-beloved monsoons from earlier in the week had left us with a 5am that was muggy, oppressive, and about 89 degrees with like 80% humidity. Before sunrise. Mistake #8 is that I even live here anymore, because as noted previously, 80* is about my limit for running in, and that's if it's bone-dry or not in a theme park. Mama likes it cold!

To save you suspense, I'll just tell you that mistakes #9 and 10 were not bringing enough water or calories. I figured I'd be fine with the belt I normally wear, refilling at a couple of stations our coach had set up...but I didn't count on the heat, and having to pour liberal amounts of water over my head to keep from overheating. I don't know why this is, but I overheat at the drop of a hat- actually, fuck hats, I can't run in a hat even in the winter. If there was an Overheaters Anonymous I'd have to join. I'm pretty sure I could get sunstroke indoors. So why I imagined that running so early would protect me from the wretched AZ deathheattrap is beyond me. I ran out of water for all of miles 6 and 7 and even tho I refilled at 8, I was pretty finished after that. I had a lot of fantasies about collapsing and being picked up by a concerned triathlete or scooped up by a park ranger in an air-conditioned truck...It didn't help either that I bonked somewhere in there bc I had only brought sport beans, and altho I brought plenty, I put them in the outside pocket of my belt and they bounced out; so I was out of those by mile 6 too. So let me just tell you: it took me 2 3/4 hrs to do that 10 miles, and if Jason Voorhies had appeared anytime after mile 5 I would have been perfectly happy to see him.

 I recounted some of my foibles to our coach when I finally staggered in (super super last), and she said "I'm surprised you even finished". That made me feel a little better, like I still somehow did better than expected under the circumstances...but of course I'm quickly back to worrying, "how could it take me so long to run 10 freaking miles?!". Ah yes, wanting to die probably slows you down a bit...but still! So. Ten mistakes I won't be making this weekend (or ever again)-? We shall see, my friends, we shall see!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

365 - a month in pictures

As promised (as much to myself as anyone else), this is the update on my 365grateful project.  It is a little more than a month in pictures, but you get the idea. It makes for a very long post, but you will forgive me as you can just give up at any point, whereas I will repeatedly look back at this, be overwhelmed at the sheer volume of gratitude here, and conclude that my birth was sprinkled with fairy dust, overseen by magical fairies.  You wouldn't take that away from me, would you?

Thursday, May 24  2012
The last day of school all the boys in G's class shaved their heads- including their teacher!  It was a great bonding experience he sometimes does if all the boys commit.  We will hugely miss such a great teacher and were no less than *blessed* to have him this past year.  It is inspiring and rare to meet someone who is so devoted to their job that you want not only to do yours better, but to be a better person overall.  Truly. Grateful.

Friday, May 25  2012
I had the idea for a "summer jar" last year, but this year I recruited the kids to help me fill it with ideas; that way I have their buy-in when it's time to pick from it, and I didn't get writer's block and carpal tunnel filling out a million little slips.  Unexpected benefit: we had a great time doing it, actually.  A lot of fun conversations about the possibilities of summer, and a lot of optimism and anticipation.  Yay. 
Saturday, May 26  2012
View from our first group run with Team Chances, along the Chandler canal.  An even better view than the picture makes out.

Sunday, May 27  2012
An old picture, but grateful today for these two ridiculous friends; Jen and Matt came over and we did *nothing*, while drinking and eating and generally I enjoyed it more than a lot of evenings I've paid other people to entertain me.  I should have taken a picture at the time but I was too busy loving it.   

Monday, May 28  2012
Grateful for the little bits of magic in my life, and grateful that things can still stop me in my tracks sometimes. :)
Tuesday, May 29  2012
Garmin, my trusted and much-loved workout companion.  It's a tossup whether I'd rather my ipod or my watch, if I could only strap one on at a time (twss?)...This seriously is the best watch, the best garmin model, the best thing I ever spent a ton of money on adding to my running career.  It does everything, including giving me credit for walking 2mph even while in my office taking pictures of it.

Wednesday, May 30  2012
Went to a concert today, for the first time in ... I have no idea how long.  Years.  Reminded me how much I *love* going to concerts!  Seriously, self, note to you: go. to. see. live. music!  (This is a crappy phone picture of Of Mice and Men, btw, and big ups to The James for bringing me to this show!  I had such a great time and glad to find new music!)

Thursday, May 31  2012
Sometimes, I am just grateful for blogging.  Sometimes I let it be yet another thing that stresses me out, but then other times I just do it, have a great time doing it, and love seeing my words and pictures somewhere other than behind my eyelids.  Thanks for being a part of its randomness! 

Friday, June 1  2012
A gorgeous day greeted us in downtown San Diego when we drove in.  Can't capture the magnificence of whatever those trees are with the purple flowers all over them...seriously, inspiring even for my cold cold heart.

Saturday, June 2  2012
Grateful for this ridiculous girl, this funny group that kept us company on our race trip, and this *awesome* ride at Sea World.  Definitely the best part of the whole park.  Manta.  Look for it.

Sunday, June 3  2012
Is it weird that I have a place in a whole other city where I "always drink too much"?  Shouldn't that be more of an at-home thing-?  Then again, I super love that I get out enough to actually form habits in places I don't even live, so I'm going to present this picture as evidence that I have an awesome life.  This is such a great dive bar I forget the name of, where we've now spent two of Abby's birthdays in a row.  Hark, tradition!!
(And I just realized The James is missing from this picture, which is clearly a travesty bc I remember her being there rocking out with us and wish she actually was.  Just like high school.)

Monday, June 4  2012
Again, not a pic from this day, but standing in because I didn't think to snap one of James behind the wheel, driving us all back from California in the swank car we managed not to trash.  Lucky to have this responsible, generous, fun, loyal, sane friend joining me for ridiculous adventures, twelve years on.  Thanks for doing all the driving while we slept it off!!

Tuesday, June 5  2012
Food blogger, I am not.  What I am is grateful that one of the places I regularly work has a sweet cafe inside it, where I am miraculously able to always cobble together something delicious that meets my dietary restrictions of the moment.  Sorry for the not-at-all appetizing picture- but this discovery was worth documenting: mongolian stir fry over refried beans.  If this does not sound good, *eat it and be amazed!* Low carb, warm, filling, and other words people use to describe delicious food.  And depending how you mix it, it can be chinese food, mexican food, or *both* because you know you like it like that!  I can tell your mouth is watering now. 

Wednesday, June 6  2012
I don't know how I got lucky enough to live in this little oasis in the wasteland that is Phoenix, but this is how close I am to crane(s!) on my morning runs through the park.  It's like living in a pretty city except I don't have to move away!  ;)

Thursday, June 7  2012
  I don't think I can explain to you why, but I have recently decided I love puzzles.  Try not to come *all* the way out of your chair.
Friday, June 8  2012
  Omg, I am in the air *again*.  I am travelling for the second time in two weeks!  I am jack's unbridled enthusiasm!  Truthfully, flying has started to make me just a touch nervous...more and more as I get older...but looking out a window and seeing THAT never fails to make me feel like the super powerful pinnacle of human evolution.  I mean, we are in. the. SKY.  The sky!!  That is completely amazing, every time.  If you don't think so too I am very, very sorry, and I think you must be deeply hard to impress.

Saturday, June 9  2012
This is the beautiful venue of the South Carolina wedding that TnT went to this weekend. (T and nT- I know you get it.)  I tried to stop for one with us actually *in* the picture, but people were arriving behind us and nT didn't want to hold up the show.  Rest assured, he looked very handsome and I was not too sweaty.  nT's family was charming and fun, probably even more so bc they actually drink together at family functions, which my family definitely does not.  Drinking wins.  And I really couldn't resist his aunt Janet who made us both cry with stories about her husband before he died.  Altogether a wonderful night, even if it hadn't ended with my garmin on. 

Sunday, June 10  2012
This cracked me up.  Traffic jam? TOE jam??  Yes apparently, orange-elderberry-something-that-begins-with-T-and-can-go-in-jam is quite the seller at the farmer's market we went to in Charleston.  I didn't get to try it, but I did try boiled peanuts for the first time, and it was a *revelation*.  I couldn't put them down.  Why did no one tell me about this miraculous invention?! I really wish I could remember what goes in jam and starts with T tho...tangerine? It can't be tangerine-orange-elderberry, could it?  I'll just have to go back there and find out.  Oops, plane tickets: booked! ;0
Monday, June 11  2012
 This was such a short trip for how far away we went, so we didn't have a ton of time to spend in South Carolina.  But we did manage to get out a little and eat a couple things, see a couple things, drink a couple things...and we played a little pool, which we haven't done together in years.  It isn't my favorite thing since I'm not good at it (childish? yes.), but I love doing anything out of the ordinary and am glad we had a chance to do this!
Tuesday, June 12  2012
I love LOVE this artist and everything he does; you might have seen some of his prints at Cost Plus and Target.  His name is Rodney White and I just wanted to give him a shout out here because I spent quite a while today looking at his prints and they make me happy.  **note: I sent Rodney a love note one day when I was admiring his work, and when he (wow!) emailed me back, he surprised me by saying that those prints of his I'd seen at the aforementioned stores were *stolen*.  He says he has no contract with either company and gets no royalties when they sell reproductions of his work, and would I mind buying direct from his website if I decide to buy his prints in future.  Uh, would I *mind* if you get paid and can keep being an awesome artist?  No, I would not mind that.  Anyway, Rodney seemed super cool and I feel inspired every time I look at my growing collection of his art. :)

Wednesday, June 13  2012
Cleaning out a closet the other day, I almost threw away this old scrabble game. (Yes, we have another, even tho we play on our phones more than anything else.  WordFeud, anyone?)  But then I got a wild hair to glue the letters down in a TnT-themed board, and put it up as art; I probably saw it on pinterest or something, since this is clearly an awesome idea and I'm not saying I thought of it myself.  After a couple weeks of arranging and rearranging and some unexpected intervention from nT, we did come up with a board that's about us- and YES, we used *all the letters*!  And yes, that does make me feel like a super genius.  I love how it turned out and I love looking at it now, because it reminds me of our inside jokes and the good things about us, and how we can use up all the letters talking about us and never say "irritating" once!  
Thursday, June 14  2012
Epictetus, you wily pragmatist.  I loved this entire book so much I almost refused to return it to the library.  I found a similar book of his writings for free on kindle, or I might not have given it back after all.  Epictetus is one of those ancient philosophers who seems so profoundly *right* to me that I love just absorbing his words.  He says things like "Make the best use of what is in your power, and take the rest as it happens."  and "It is the action of an uninstructed person to reproach others for his own misfortune; of one entering instruction, to reproach himself; and one perfectly instructed, to reproach neither others nor himself."  I mean, that makes it sound like he's good with pithy bits of advice; this book gave more of his in-depth treatises, delving into why and how he arrived at these little sound bites.  Whatever, enough explaining.  If you too love philosophy and people who think about how life should be lived, you will love Epictetus.  I think.  Therefore I am. Sorry, that was ridiculous. 

Friday, June 15  2012
My awesome little progeny and I ventured to our local dive-sports bar to play some shuffleboard in the middle of the day.  No school, no work, no pressing places to be...something out of the ordinary and being a grownup who gets to say "I took my kid to a bar"- this made for a great day. 

Saturday, June 16  2012
Some unexpected wind this evening and in a rare show of cooperation, we all suddenly decided to fly kites together.  I am really learning the unbelievable power and value of "doing nothing", because I honestly felt inspired and grateful just sitting in the street, watching the kids watch their kites as a typical brilliant Arizona sunset closed in on us.  I guess I'm not as incapable of being at peace as I thought.  I must be going soft.   

Sunday, June 17  2012
At last, I finished my new calendar!  I print one for myself every year or so, and bind it with pictures I've taken since the last one, so I have exactly what I want.  I can't do electronic calendars and the ones for sale are so generic and not the size/style/layout/anything I want.  So now, I make my own, I love looking at my pictures all year, and it costs $4.  I'm not Oprah but this is one of my Favorite Things, and I get to carry it with me and look at it every day.

Monday, June 18  2012
Sunrise is not as spectacular as sunset around here, but I do feel pretty grateful when I'm up and out to see it.  Bonus: crazy neighbors have moved out, and took their view-blocking ghetto roof patio set with them!
Tuesday, June 19  2012
I went out this evening to an unexpectedly cool event downtown at the last minute, and even though there wasn't time to bring anyone with me, I and my tiny little purse had a great time. 
Genius detail: this is actually a pacifier holder I couldn't resist while shopping for a baby shower gift, which I now use as the possibly tiniest purse ever.  Love.
Wednesday, June 20  2012
This is not a huge deal, but I did have a moment with these bumper stickers.  "Art is a way"..I haven't heard that before, but I love it.  Thanks, random car, for being in my path today!
Thursday, June 21  2012
Love when I get invited out to stuff and actually *go*!  It's all too tempting to give in to guilt when you have kids, and forgo things that are just "superfluous" in favor of projects, errands, and just "being" with the kids...but the more I test the waters, the more I realize we're all better off for our time apart, and our family time together is better when we all allow ourselves to take it.  Also, glad to have patient friends who understand I need to learn this over and over, and continue to invite me places even tho I often stay home! 

Friday, June 22  2012
Two field trips in one weekend?! It's like I'm childless and single or something!  Rage on, wild T! 

Saturday, June 23  2012
 I am so glad Jaime found this bloggers' group!  I have a hard time living here and I often let it make me churlish, and make the mistake of ascribing the same grim traits to other Phoenix residents that I associate with the city itself.  I probably shouldn't have been even mildly surprised to find an awesome collective of interesting and funny women getting together just for the hell of it; but I wasn't mildly surprised, I was floored.  I thought this kind of thing only happened in cool cities!  Color me over the moon!  I've been to two gatherings so far, and will definitely continue to make a point of showing up- you can't know too many awesome people, can you?  Plus, if you're counting, this is *three field trips* I had this weekend- *four* if you count the group run I did in the morning!  What is the world coming to?!

Sunday, June 24  2012
Roller Derby.  An incredibly cool brainwave that brought my field trip total to FIVE for this weekend.  G and I went to check this out, and I definitely felt the need to purchase some skates by the time the first round ended.  So. Cool! 

Monday, June 25  2012
I am pinching myself today that I am on a trip for the third time this month.  On our way to Orlando for The 10th Birthday of my little boy, I had a moment of thankfulness for Southwest, their low-key vibe, the great rapid rewards thing that enables so much of my wanderlust at little to no cost, and their choice to have a hub in Phoenix so I can get tons of places without having to change planes.  Southwest makes Phoenix suck less!
Tuesday, June 26  2012
The view from our window in Orlando as we head to Universal Studios for Birthdaypalooza 2012.  Does it look dreary? To me it looks like 70*, no crowds, and "probably" not getting sucked into a tornado!  A perfect day!!

Wednesday, June 27  2012
(He didn't really get the perspective right, but what do you want? The kid is ten.)  So, so grateful to be in this ridiculous place, and be able to completely enjoy it.  I learned a lot about letting go of my expectations, and today am grateful for that too; we've done things that surprised me, and I saw us both in a different light.  If you have a kid you should travel alone with them sometimes.  Just in case you need my advice, that's what you should do.
Thursday, June 28  2012
I want to wipe away a tear for the fact that there are gluten-free option(S!!) to eat all over the park.  Who has done this miraculous thing?!  Everything I had was really good, and somehow people seemed not at all surprised when I asked for it.  Universal, seriously.....moment of silence for this good deed you are doing.  Being able to EAT, *and* with no more hassle than a normal person- this is the dream of every weird-diet-having outcast out there.  Oh! and not upcharging me for it = this actually might have been heaven and not Universal Studios.

Friday, June 29  2012
...and the magic went on longer than it even needed to.  I can't say anything else, other than I just loved this trip.

Saturday, June 30
This saucy little girl graced my day by babysitting me after my own little saucer left for his other destinations.  I really don't think of myself as a kid person, but I am starting to, slowly, meet children of my friends that I catch myself *opting* to be around.  As in, when I don't even have to. 
I guess this is how a tribe is made.  It is turning out to be a pretty great one.  Welcome to it, little monster!