Tuesday, June 27, 2017

vegan breakfast #1

I am trying to develop a new habit of eating and making healthy meals. This morning I made a veggie soft taco using sautéed onions, cubed green peppers, cubed tomatoes, 4 cloves garlic, 1 small squash, cubed, 1/2 veggie burger per burrito and a handful of chopped kale. 

I went to the international market and picked up Adobo and Cumin.....yum....

Sautéed vegetables are so delicious. Cayenne pepper, not pictured. 

I microwaved a patty of this veggie burger I get at ALDI and split it between 2 burritos. 

YUM! this was so good. 

Sunday, June 18, 2017

A No Father's Day

               Ironically, the only memories I have of my dad are of me running away from him. We lived in Paraguay, South America for 5 years as a child and I have about a handful and a half of memories of him and they are all of him either being angry at me, or chasing me with a belt. I once ran into a bush trying to get away from him, I once bled from his spankings. I thought the terror ended when my parents divorced when I was 8 and my mom took my sister and me to America and my brother stayed with my dad in South America. That was the last time I saw my dad, at the airport waving at us goodbye. 

               Afterwards, I did hear from him a few times over the years. A phone-call here, a random greeting card there. Once I started college I decided to send him a picture of myself. One I had taken of me and developed in the darkroom in one of my photo classes. I liked that picture of me, I looked proud, healthy and strong, and beautiful. Heartbreakingly, I never got a response from him. Years and years later, my brother would reveal to me that he did no write me back because he was married to a jealous woman who convinced him that all I wanted was money and so he never responded to me. Even more years later passed and he was in his deathbed and he asks to meet with my sister and me. My sister went, I did not. I just could not get over how slighted I felt. He died a few months later and the guilt was almost too much to bear. There ended my relationship with my father, a handful of strung-together memories of me running, terrified, not knowing what I had done wrong. I don't even have a picture of him, only the one of him in my memories. 

            I don't ever think of my father these days, except days like this of course, Father's Day. He is not part of any comfort thoughts for me, a total nothing. The hell I lived through in my youth, after the divorce, came and went and he was not around to prevent any of it, alone I dealt with all of it. Many more years later, I met with his older brother and his family and was given a slew of forgiving excuses for why he was never around. Most of the excuses they gave fell under the category of blaming my mom of course. I don't doubt my mom played a big role in this separation between me and my dad, yet, had he even fought back, even a tiny bit, I would have known. Knowing he was "fighting" for me would have boosted my self-worth tremendously..... 

               So I stand here at 43 still puzzled, perplexed at to how one can procreate and just walk away without a fight, without a care. I will never know why he never even tried. Building my self-worth back up from these ashes has taken years. But days like these are not easy. 

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Deflating Anger

               My husband's mom passed away last week and the whole family drove up to Massachusetts for the wake and the funeral. It was both physically and emotionally very tough on all of us. In all, I went 4 days without running, and we drove 20 hours within 3 days and afterwards, once it was allover, I found myself being angry a lot. Angry at a thankless friend who've I've done numerous favors for and now simply ignores my emails with request for help. I find myself being angry at the local drivers who choose to wait to merge onto Braddock Road instead of turn into the turning lane where it would be much simpler to merge, angry at the relentless rain that has causes lots of games to be rescheduled, then there is the glue I ordered 2 months ago that has not yet arrived and I need it for my lessons. As I began to feel overwhelmed with this anger I noticed that the more I got mad the more mad I got. It became like a stream of never-ending bubbling up of more and more reasons to be mad, from little minute reasons to giant blogs of justifiable reasons, all coming at me at the same time. 

        What does one do with all this anger? I knew from my readings into the nature of the mind that thoughts are fleeting and like any energy force, thoughts, come and go, so I knew better than to believe them. Nevertheless the feeling of anger persisted, reminding me constantly how awful everyone can be at every interaction, making me want to just crawl away into a hole and never see another soul. 

         But wait a minute! so much good has also been happening and for some reason our minds love to veer away from all the good and primarily focus on the bad. One has to make a strong concerted effort to refocus on the good and soon the bad starts to seem less overwhelming. So let's see....what good has been happening? We came back home from the funeral and my angel friend, Jenna, had made us dinner, more importantly, she got me my favorite red wine and brownies. The kids, upon my return, told me they had missed me, friends at work came in my class and were happy to see me back. My husband was okay with me leaving for over an hour so I can go to the gym and run for the first time in 4 days, I got to enjoy a 5 mile run, my mom called to tell me her surgery went fine. I found out my son does not have a game tomorrow which means I can join friends for a happy hour. 

       You see, the world will always throw us crap. People do suck, sometimes, drivers are bad, sometimes, disappointment is waiting at every corner. But if we let them into our minds, into our moods, they win. We have to actively push back and set ourselves up for a better state of mind. I do this with running, but I also do this by bringing my mind back to the things and the people I love. 

Monday, May 1, 2017


Dear women who openly walk around nude in the locker room at the gym, 

           Although I am currently way too shy to be able to walk around nude in the women's locker room at my gym, I very much cheer, admire and am in total awe of anyone who can do this and hope to some day be able to join you in this act of beauty, defiance and bravery. As I jealously passed a few of you this morning after my workout doing your hair or toweling off buck-naked in front of the mirrors, I internally challenged myself that I too would be one of you within the year. 
             I guess I have always been very reserved. Most likely it stems from from years and years of being self-conscious about my body, and yes, with a touch of cultural shyness to boot. Seeing a grown person in the nude was just not common sight growing up in my household. I remember I was a babysitter for a family in my teens. This family had a pool. Before swimming one day the moms chose to change right into their suits right front of me and I had a huge panic attack; nothing like this has ever happened in my presence before. As I grow to love my body more and more each day I find it imperative that I too face my own discomfort with nudity and if I am to continue changing in total privacy to make damn well sure that it's not out of shame or pure cowardice. So, I'd like to thank you for just being who you are! You represent a place I'd love to be in my relationship with my body, yet have not yet reached. Seeing you be so free and confident in your body allows me to be more confident in mine. You see, we all inspire each other, so keep on being your amazing self. 

-Still too shy to bear it all


Monday, April 24, 2017

Social media and running

            I have long ago stopped caring who has unfriended me on Facebook due to my excessive running-related posts. Facebook is a microcosm of humanity and as in real life, we have all kinds on there. We have the Jesus posts, the food posts, the "look at my cute baby" posts, the teen bathroom selfie posts....oh, they are all perfect just the way they are. So I figured, if someone walks out of my life because I annoyed them with my harmless running posts, maybe that's actually a good thing. 

          Now, more important to me on FB are the people whom I inspire and in turn, the people who inspire me. There are days when I may not feel up to doing a workout and that very day someone posts all their pictures of some epic hike and that alone pushes me to get out there too. 

           Today on Facebook,  at 7am, I posted about a 2-minute PR in my 5K time along with a photo of me gleaming with happiness. I doubt most of my 500+ FB friends even know what a PR means, but I don't care. The few who do will find it interesting or inspiring, some might scroll by, some might be curious enough to Google it.....but none of those outcomes are things I bother thinking about whatsoever. I simply find it essential to put it out there and not worry too much about how it's taken. It's important to, as Seth Godin says, "just show up". I also find it even more important that someone like me, a curvier runner, to show up so that others just like me in size or age can see that it is possible to keep on moving. 

So yes, this morning I did run a 2-minute PR on my 5K and I wanted to scream out my success on the treadmill, but I could not. I wanted to scream about it in the gym shower, but obviously, that would not be seen an sane.....social media allowed me to share it at 7am, when even my own family was still in bed. 

Happy running everyone. 

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Friendship and running

               Friendship has been on my mind a lot lately. 

               First, in a week, a friend I had way back in 5th grade is coming to run a long distance race locally and is spending a few days in my home with her hubby. I know, that is 33+ years ago, but we have so much in common and I cannot wait to chat it up with her. We are both runners, we both are married to runners, we both love to garden, we even both harvest our own dandelions; which we then consume, we both love dogs, and are attracted to simple things and, last, and not surprisingly, we are both very outspoken. Second, That same weekend happens to also be my longtime friend's birthday and I could not be luckier to have this woman beside me in life. She is the one person I can call, besides my hubby, any time of the day or night and she will guide me through the deepest, darkness times without a second thought. I surely wish a friend like that on everyone and can only hope I am as good a friend to her as she is to me. 
                  When I was younger I thought having more friends, than less, was a great thing to aspire to, 'the more the merrier, I'd think,' I'd do a terrific job groveling, begging and morphing myself in so many different me's just to be that all-supportive friend to as many people as possible, regardless of what they offered me, friendship-wise. Back then, even friends who'd toss me, figuratively, 'crumbs', would deserve my fullest attention. Back then, I could not afford to lose even the crappiest of friends, I was so afraid to be alone that the fear alone lit a fire under me to be a huge sucker. I'd sit up hours listening to miserable, divorcing women friends, who'd know nothing about me personally, or never even bothered to ask me about me. They'd drone on and on about their tragedy. They'd demand all sorts of help and support in their time of need and hardly knew me. I'd make their priorities my priorities, their emergencies my emergencies regardless of whether these priorities even mattered to me or whether they'd ever do the same for me. I'd remain friends with women who'd outright exclude me on girlfriend outings then, during future group gatherings, share in my presence all the details of their outings, as if I had no feelings to be hurt. I remember laboring for hours making entire meals for friends to only be rudely advised on my weight or told how my meal was not balanced. I'd stupidly pay out-of-pocket for take-out for friends going through things only be told how miserable they are that they're not elsewhere or with someone else at the time. So you see, I've had my share of crappy, inconsiderate, self-serving friends and at 43, I am done being that all-supportive friend. You see, I know I am a great friend, but I am not a social service, there is a difference. I may be a little absentminded and maybe a bit lacking in some areas(or a lot), but overall I am a solid, faithful, bulldog of a friend. I just want more because I know I deserve more. There is a very wise saying that goes something like this, "It's Much Better To Be Alone Than To Be With Someone Who Makes You Feel Lonely"
                 Not surprisingly, and opposite to my younger opinion, the secret to happiness comes from drastically whittling this list of friends down, down, down...and even more down. As I get older I have learned to become wiser in selecting friends. One simple defining factor in selecting these friends have been their actions, nothing more, nothing less. Just because someone calls themselves your friend does not make them a friend. Nope. It's a nice sentiment, but to be a friend, a true friend, you actually have to act like one too, not just part-time, not just in some areas, not just when it's convenient, but full-time, all the time. 
                  But I am sure you are asking yourself about now, "How does running and friendships come together?". Running has taught me to not fear being alone. In training for a race, I spend hours upon hours alone and I have gotten to really know me and like me. So, I no longer fear aloneness, in fact, I revel in it; and in the midst of all the business in life right now, I actually crave it. If left to my own devices, I will always be totally and utterly content, doing some creative activity or another. Freedom from any fear of being alone is liberating and empowering at the same time. But running has also taught me another great lesson in friendships, it's helped me know how to keep focus on my goal of finding my own inner peace in the face of extreme discomfort. You see, running is not a comfortable sport. On any given run, pain comes, pain goes and while you run you know this fact and despite knowing that pain comes you just continue on, fully trusting that just as easy as pain came, it will leave.          
                Therefore, I am looking forward to this new chapter in my life. Full of genuine loving friends and relationships that energize, not drain, inspire not drag you down. I feel so blessed to have so many amazing, strong, brave, and inspiring women in my life who both lift me up and fill me with love.