Little Big Things

Really everyone? No one called me out on my misspelling of “thou” on last week’s post? Come on!

Sometimes I panic on a Thursday afternoon when I realize I’ve not written a single post for the following week. Other times I have many options awaiting a small edit before I can publish. Rarely do I make any snap decisions to re-work what’s already scheduled. Just the times when you win free shoes for 20 years or when the love of your life returns. You know, just the little things.

Are you going up or down?

I believe there are moments in life when it’s easier to live ignorantly. Think about it. When developing a new friendship, do you blurt your entire life story immediately or does it slowly reveal itself in time? To complicate things, maybe there’s a huge secret you don’t wish them to know for fear of judgment or worry it will end the relationship before it can even begin. It’s not too wild to consider. So if it started off this way, who’s to say it can’t restart the same? Always with the rhetorical questions.

This post won’t seem overt to many, but it’s momentous in my own life. I’m patiently reminded there’s only one captain of my ship; no other power can make decisions for me. What has been built up will not easily be torn down. My feelings lie squarely within this blog, but they can have infinite meaning. Remember being bonded to another soul gives no right to their suffering. Putting in work to rebuild what is broken, lost, or overlooked is not an easy task.

Shadows that bind us

As a recovering rescuer, I find it too easy to fall back into the same trap. Not this time. Our words are somewhat guarded yet expectation is a tone all its own. I have questions…where have you been, what has changed, and why now? Were you waiting on me to make the first move? Are you going to quit trying again, without warning? I may be stronger, but I am not invincible.

Sleepless nights reveal much; but one thing remains the same: no matter the hour, my heart belongs to you. I don’t need labels. I just need to know you’re going to be there.

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I ask you –

Is preparedness a key to happiness?

Do you answer your own questions?

Tell me something good!

Oh Sandman, Where for Art Thou Sandman? It’s Me!

It has taken an exponentially long time to realize being a Veteran as well as a mom is isolating. Because when things are bad – at home, in life, with relationships – the ton of bricks hits to remind me ‘Kel, you’ve seen worse’. Maybe anxiety speaks louder than reality, but I often feel the sorrow of what could have been, what I wanted the military to be.

Even knowing it can only be what it is, I believe change is not only possible but also very warranted. Perhaps more inclusivity training? Is training really the answer though? How about an open-minded mindset that one person’s goals manifest unlike another’s? Not sure how to train someone in being open minded.

Whoa that was getting really deep. To resume a lighter tone, I find my best thoughts appear twice a day: while running and right before I go to sleep. Although these aren’t the best times for writing (anyone seen my pen?) I try so hard to remember snippets to share the next available time.

Hotel life

Sleep has proven difficult lately. It began shortly before vacation; pressure from trying to get some end-of-year things done at work, planning a vacation, imagining the long drive, etc. So, even while in paradise, the nightmares would push me from my bed to the couch. I considered I was allowing my stress over not returning home to a prescription refill a source of said stress. Even though I have lots of letters behind my name, “MD” isn’t there. Yet! You see, I take a medication to help me sleep. During/after military service, my normally light sleep pattern suffered. Instead of waking up at every small sound, movement, or even no real reason at all, I began having nightmares and still waking up a million times per night. Restful sleep? What’s that?

Unbeknownst to me, nightmares happen during the light sleep stage, not REM as commonly believed. Since I spend 87% of my sleep in the light stage, tada!, nightmares. Clearly I rely on this medication to ensure I’m getting the best sleep possible. Not one to take medicine at all, this is a pretty big deal! I’m not very medicinally tolerant; most make me fall asleep (even common pain relievers) so I guess a medication you take in order to sleep is right up my alley.

I feel like I said this would be a lighter note and here we are talking about nightmares. Anyway, if you, too, suffer from light sleep and nightmares, please know help is available. Now I don’t remember where I was going with any of this. ….Oh right! Sleep! Get some, make it count, talk to your doc, someone important, whoever if you aren’t, and report back. I’m always listening!

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I ask you –

What time of day do your best thoughts manifest?

Suffer from sleep problems?

I’ve probably asked this before, but do you remember your dreams more often than nightmares or vice versa?

Feels Like the 6th Week of the Month

As expected, the first week back from paradise was a trying time. There’s some, but not a lot, of exaggeration here. On the drive home, I went ahead and put my healthier eating plan in motion so while everyone else ate hamburgers I chose the salad. I love salads so this wasn’t truly a hardship. My plan isn’t full on vegetarian. Let’s face it, I love seafood and chicken. And the occasional ribeye. However, adding loads of colorful fruits and veggies to my diet fits right into my heart.

Semi-keto (because I’m still marathon training and carbs are key) with the addition of mainly plant based lunches seems doable for me. I’m also trying to support and encourage my other half to be healthier. And overall I want to experience the energy I used to have.

Cilantro, not pictured

As for work, I’ll be sifting through 300 emails for a few days. Not to mention end of FY20 tasks I’ve never done before. No one answers anymore when I call. I also returned on time card week so that’s a real joy. How difficult can it really be to load your time into a system? Apparently it’s an undertaking unlike anything anyone has ever seen. You wish to be paid? Load your time!!

No drastic changes to my workout schedule. After fully taking off the week, I awoke Monday ready to return to my second happy place. Surprisingly the gym was empty and I took advantage of it! When my mini is home, it’s too easy to find a million reasons not to get up and workout or forgo the post-workday run but my pep talk includes the reminder she needs to see my dedication for my goals.

Running buddy

Besides, her joy comes from “running” with me once my miles are complete. This is a good indicator I’m doing something right.

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I ask you –

Is it just me or does the first week back feel like the longest?

How much anxiety do you get from seeing hundreds of unread emails? I think my heart stops beating just considering it.

Tell me about some activities you and your child(ren) do/did together!

Flora y Fauna y Comida

I considered writing this post in Spanish, but figured no one but me would appreciate the work. How ungrateful!

As threatened, this is the post of vacation food, flowers, and whatever other randomness I can find. Because if I don’t memorialize it here, what kind of blogger would I be? Don’t answer that.

All the flowers

The above are all phone photos – apologies on the quality. Below are from my camera. Keep scrolling, you’re not finished yet!

My dearest mother in law (affectionately referred to as Nanners) would have chopped off her right arm to be able to transplant these back to N. Texas. Fat chance. With nightly rainfall, 148% humidity, and sandy soil, these flowers are best suited to their current conditions. Besides, it’s less for me to kill.

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I ask you –

Do you speak other languages? Bonus points for pig latin and smartassery.

How many photos of flowers do you have on your phone?

Coffee v Alcohol. Pick your poison!

Vacation Takeaways

Hello, Gulf of Mexico

The humor mini me imparts on every situation is too much. Example numero uno (with many more to come), upon seeing palm trees for the first time in her long lived 4 years, she proudly proclaimed they were coconut trees. Later she conceded to their proper name and adopted the term “coconut palms”. Not every battle fought must be won.

From angry mosquitoes to the forever walk – the extent of my exercise regimen involved using the stairs to climb 3 flights multiple times a day and running away from tiny hell creatures bent on sucking my blood.

I attempted to eat my weight in crustaceans. Surely the scale would agree.

And cake, too

The Gulf of Mexico has some of the warmest waters I’ve ever encountered. The sand bars are my favorite because just as soon as you lose sight of your feet they suddenly reappear again like magic!

“surf board”

Homemade tortillas and the hottest salsa on the planet. I could eat it every day.

As I re-tell these short vacation blips and use my photograph collection as a handy reminder, I believe I may have to write a separate post on just flowers and trees, as well as one on just food. Skip it if you care not.

There was alcohol, too!

Gabriella’s

On that note, I will be here reminiscing seven, short days in paradise. And nursing my sunburn.

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I ask you –

Did you vacation this year? Where? Staycations count, too!

Did you take vacations as a child?

Name your best sunburn remedy.

Runners and their Ramblings

While running, I like to have long conversations with myself. Truth be told, I do this even when not running. A few gems:

Sometimes we feel limited by things we can’t control. One way to overcome these limits is to change your thinking. For example, pair limits with overcome. I have the ability to overcome my limits. Take responsibility.

SHMC. Otherwise known as shmuck. Not the derogatory term for an idiot. This acronym is my check-in during running. S – sweating: am I? Because I should be. H – headache: do I have one? Because it’s one of the first signs pointing to danger of heat-related illness. M – mouth: is it dry or wet? Dry mouth can signal dehydration. C – cramps: another telltale sign of heat-related problems. Every mile, I run through the SHMC checklist.

Running essentials

Do you know what tastes good during a long run? Besides an ice cream cone. Jelly beans! A race several years ago gave us jelly beans around mile 10 and I’ve never forgotten how amazing they were. So I did some research and was happily surprised the fuel I typically use during a run has about the same calories and carbs as jelly beans. And jelly beans are much cheaper! I’m now the proud owner of a huge bag o’ beans. Win!

Aftermath of the first 10 miler in the training cycle

I find it hard to believe I will complete training runs longer than half marathon distance. Now I know this seems like a big duh moment, but it still blows my mind. The satisfaction I find in 13.1 miles is so comfortable to me. How do I run 26.2? How do I even mentally train for it? I remember experiencing every single emotion while running my first half: joy, elation, surprise, fear, pain, sadness. You name it – I went through it. I did receive some strange looks while running and crying. When they asked if I was ok, I said yes. They probably thought I was lying. It’s hard to imagine what I’ll feel that day. The mind takes us down some crazy roads when there’s nothing to focus on except footfall and breathing. I typically zone out and come to wondering where am I?

There’s still time to become accustomed to these thoughts. But it is fading fast.

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I ask you –

How often do you talk to yourself? Bonus points if you never stop!

Do you like jelly beans? Have you tried the yucky flavors, too?

Share a time when others didn’t understand your emotions.

Grassy Colors

Just as often as I crave sweet treats, my body craves vegetables. Ok, maybe not “just” as often. I enjoy my workday lunch of grilled chicken salad. Really, I do! But as it continues to heat up outside, I find myself seeking out new recipes for Brussels sprouts, green peppers, and fresh corn. If I didn’t love meat and fish, I would find it easy to subscribe to a vegetarian way of life. The more colors the better! There’s very few I don’t enjoy; then again you can fry anything and I’ll most likely eat it.

Shades of green

Perhaps it’s way off, but I once had a headache for a month while on a long underway. 30. Straight. Days. Sure, the Navy isn’t known for being relaxing, but no amount of rest, ibuprofen, or caffeine helped. Eventually diagnosed with migraines, I thought for sure that was the end of it, but it took some time to realize my nutrition played a large role. Onboard the ship, the availability of fresh fruits and vegetables begins to lag as time goes on. Naturally things spoil. And no matter how much iceberg lettuce I would eat, the headaches would return. Much research has been done on the link between what we eat and migraine triggers, although I’ve heard more about chocolate and some “-hypnols” than anything else. Maybe I’m on to something.

Veggie Scramble

Call it what you will: placebo effect, wishful thinking, whatever you like. However, intuitive eating is possibly more important than anything else. When my body has had enough cookies, I know. And when it says hold up lady it’s time for greenery, again, I listen. Thankfully I was raised with a deep appreciation for fresh-from-the-garden wares (although I suck at gardening). My parents would spend weeks cooking and canning fresh salsa, okra, and pickled everything. Oddly enough to me, many children aren’t exposed to this natural, live off the land upbringing now. Even then it was becoming obvious this way of life was falling by the wayside. Long gone times.

On a lighter note, my strengths include shelling purple hulled peas and endlessly complaining about ants. But…if you need some help pulling weeds or over-watering your plants, I’m your girl. Pay no attention to me stealing your vegetables.

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I ask you –

On a scale of 1 to 10, how much do you love vegetables?

Name your favorite veggies!

Did you have a childhood garden or know someone who did?

Making Changes

A game changer for sure. This short documentary shocked my whole system. I know I’ve previously mentioned intuitive eating, but making the switch to a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle is something I’ve never considered. Until now.

Remember the post a few weeks ago (or was it just last week?) where I mentioned craving vegetables? It’s gotten worse. If you can even imagine. I literally can’t get enough. Bizarre at best. And it’s been surprisingly easy to not eat meat. My usual post-run veggie scramble was a little tricky though. The urge to add eggs almost derailed me, but with a quick reminder all the protein I truly need is found in the vegetables I added.

Bell pepper, spinach, cilantro, and tomatoes. And a peach

I ordered a salad and felt no desire to add chicken. During a chili dog dinner, at the request of mini me, I made a Frito chili pie instead. Yes, chili is often made of meat, but baby steps. Not sure where this journey is taking me – I’m just along for the ride. The strange looks among a family of carnivores is slightly unnerving. They’ll get over it. Can you imagine my first Thanksgiving as vegetarian?! Oh the mutiny. Although why it’s anyone else’s business I’ll never know. Moving on…

Clearly I have no timeline for this rather large change. The best information I’ve read is to start slow: substituting meatless meals or meatless days, then gradually crossing over to entirely no meat. To be frank, I have no problem with animals and my basis is not about animal rights (if this is your viewpoint, great!). I’m most interested in the physical and performance variations of those who consume animal proteins and those who do not. My research has taken me down some winding roads concerning blood quality, inflammation, and arterial dilation post-animal protein consumption. It does make sense most animals eat plants; therefore, a plant-based diet is the foundation for all creatures. Why should my body not thrive in this same environment providing I ingest enough proteins, carbs, and other essential elements from plants? And even if I don’t see a measurable difference, what have I wasted except my own time? But what if I learn to fly?!?!

I’m soliciting advice from other non-meat-eating peoples. Send them my way!

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I ask you –

Have you watched the documentary? What was your take on it?

Is this a crazy idea? Can’t be any worse than my others.

Share your thoughts on vegetarians because we all know the stereotypes exist.

Solid Work Takes Time

I like to manage projects, but I don’t always complete them in a timely manner.

Background: I bought an old chest approximately 11 months ago. Completion time: 11 months. Difficulty level: 2. Same issue, different project. Background: My dad custom built a shadow box for my Navy memorabilia. Completion time: (him) 1 month, max. (me) 24 months. Difficulty level: (him) 4. (me) 1.

Moral of the story: if you expect me to get things done in a hurry, please lower your expectations. But, on the bright side, I completed 2 projects this summer! For past information on the chest renovations, you may visit this post: https://wordpress.com/block-editor/post/running-on-fumes.blog/776.

Now I have the utmost pleasure to reveal…..Ta-Da!! He completed it and I (finally) filled it. Better late than never, right?

As for the chest, in my defense, I was solely responsible for the stripping, sanding, painting, re-assembling, and decorating, among other woodworking things. I didn’t want to rush it lest I mess something up. And when I started it, I was working a million hours a week so naturally the time I could devote was a small fraction of what is available to me now. I mean anything can be an excuse, right? Overall, I’m super impressed by my own work. The simple understatements of the chest serve my purpose. My mini aptly refers to it as a treasure chest and our next project is to find and paint a miniature version just for her.

Stand by to stand by.

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I ask you –

Who built it better: dad (shadow box) or me (chest)? My feelings won’t be hurt. I’m blessed to have a dad who is both handy and creative. He made my vision come alive.

On average, how long does it take you to complete a project?

Ideas for my next project(s)?

Local Event and Saturday Morning Wine

Do not ride

After some deep thinking (and a radio bit I caught on the way to the gym), it rings true those without a sense of community have a harder time coping with life in general. By community I mean feeling included in what’s going on your local area, as well as the ability to impact any decisions made within. Feeling a little like being on the fence, a community event I’ve been wanting to explore is the market of farmers!

Tables of wares

There’s something innocent yet thrilling about waking up early to ditch your run until later in the day in order to peruse fruits and vegetables. Not everyone feels this way? Why not? I also heard there would be jam, jelly, and fruit pops. Count me in! P.S. I did not forgo the run. It was a very long day. More on that later.

My loot included a huge basket of juicy peaches from a local orchard (Morath Orchards) and 3 small, round lemon cucumbers. The lovely woman whose parents own the farm from which they were picked said the rind does have a lemony taste, the seeds are delicious, and they’re much better than any “normal” cucumber she’s ever tasted. I’ve always been on the fence about cucumbers, but I do enjoy English cucumbers so I decided to try something new.

Mr. Scott Poenitzsch of Horseshoe Bend Cellars Vineyard and Winery

What community doesn’t include wine?! I knew this was a great idea! The real beauty is the fact Horseshoe Bend Cellars is less than 5 miles from my home. Yes, I knew they were close but I hadn’t yet made it a priority to visit and now with the strange times we live in I’ve only prolonged my ability to frequently visit. From what I was told, the owners regularly host murder mystery events which include wine and dinner and all the mayhem one can expect at a winery. I can’t wait to attend!

You can find me here every Saturday for the foreseeable future. I’ll be the one stumbling about – wine glass in one hand and peach pops in the other. I’m kind of hard to miss.

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I ask you –

When was the last time you visited the Farmers Market?

Name your preference: fruits or vegetables?

Tell me what community means to you.