Day in Photos, pt 61

I’m in the business of being busy. So when the show must go on, I break out all the art supplies we own and attempt to form a lesson. Those degrees might help.

Working from home creates lots of opportunities while also creating lots of frustrations. Most days I wake up amazed I get to be her mom. Me!!! As something I thought I’d never experience, being a mother is fulfilling and challenging and exciting and tiring. My body is no longer my own.

Made my own Christmas centerpieces. Not one creative bone in my body, but I can copy someone else’s cute idea. At least I follow directions. Mini proudly proclaimed her approval.

Just in case you were wondering – Gummy Drop is still going well.

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I ask you –

How much hot cocoa will we drink this month?

Have you ever made your own decorations?

Tell me your record for daily game check-ins!

Join Me in the Kitchen!

Christmas goodies were never really a staple until I was in my early 20s. Maybe I was just too picky to appreciate them before. Now? Bring on the sugar-laden bonbons, festive cookies, and chocolate-dipped everything! Even though I’m not indulging this year.

Rum balls

Rum balls have been one of my favorites! But I suggest also trying them using Amaretto or some other kind of alcohol.

Chocolate chip cookies

Of course, chocolate chip cookies are required. I read somewhere that you should never bake the “typical chocolate chip cookie” at Christmas. Whatever. I do what I want! There’s nothing wrong with chocolate chip cookies at Christmas time, in my opinion. Why change a good thing?!

Peanut butter truffles

It’s important to separate anything coated in chocolate because they all start to look the same after awhile. Unless you want it to be a surprise. I like to make peanut butter balls, coconut balls, oreo balls, and Dr Pepper balls at the holidays. Occasionally I dress them up with sprinkles of things on top or coat them in white chocolate, but it just depends on what’s available and how much time I have.

Hope you all are having a wonderful holiday. Like I said…Join me in the kitchen. I’ll just be here forever dipping balls of things into melted chocolate. Pun mostly not intended.

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I ask you –

Should I have included recipes? Whoops.

Do you bake/cook/imbibe in anything specifically for the holidays?

Share a favorite holiday treat!

Day in Photos, pt 8

My Christmas cards are done! They were completed weeks ago. Who am I?!

card-carrying member of the postal service

90% of my Christmas shopping is done, too. I’m killin’ it over here!

assorted paper options

Final long run topped out at 10 miles in 2:03. We’ll find out soon, but I suspect my commitment (or lack thereof) of consistent training will result in some major post-race soreness. On the bright side, the 40/50° temperatures have been absolutely perfect running weather. Even if the cold makes me a little angry. San Antonio should be right in that range!

a previous 8 miler

I’ve found by taking a lot of seemingly random photos I can easily put together a cohesive blog post. Finally, right? Of course it won’t always be this way – I have some serious sh*t to say at times – but when my mini is home and time is short, a photo collage gets the job done. You may notice the “pt…” number in the post title is in no specific order. Welcome to random (wo)man!

Stay tuned for a Stars at Night Half Marathon update next week! Wish us luck!

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I ask you –

Do you send out Christmas cards every year, some years, or no years at all?

Whose shopping is done? Disclaimer: I’m usually a last minute shopper.

This will be my very first night race! I’m really excited!

Let’s Talk this Out

Don’t shoot the messenger. Or the thinker. We could all do some more of that. Unpopular opinion w/ justification: in a conscious effort to shop local and do more to support small businesses, I’ve taken notice of these businesses in my area. However, social media has brought to my attention those who sell items for companies like Arbonne, Mary Kay, etc. state people should support small businesses like them.

Insert some appropriate photo here. I really didn’t know what to do with this post. Winging it again.

Please understand I’m not saying they don’t deserve support or you shouldn’t patronize their business. I’m just confused if they qualify as ‘small business’? Are those who work for the company required to pay taxes or license their business? Are they an LLC? I have my own thoughts on the business schematic of these companies, but that’s neither here nor there in this post. Am I really supporting the one who sold me these items or are they a small fish in a huge pond and I’m truly funding someone’s pink car fund?

Surely I could research all this on my own; this one time, I prefer to ask the questions and garner input first. Besides, my readers’ opinions are important to me. Am I just being ugly and inconsiderate? You can say yes. Truly I feel genuinely confused. Not uncommon. Have I got this all wrong?

‘Tis the Christmas season. Eat, drink, and be merry! And support whomever you want – it’s your life.

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I ask you –

Have you ever been a part of a business like this?

If so, did you consider yourself a small business?

Name your favorite small business or local shop! Any place selling coffee!

Not all Sacrifices are Difficult

In typical holiday fashion, lately there has been a lot of food. But wait, there’s more! Some might say I picked the worst time to begin a restrictive eating routine; at times I may agree. But the fact I’ve located a few migraine triggers and have lost a few pounds makes me believe it has been worth it.

there’s been a lot of this
and none of this

Admittedly I didn’t have a lot of faith in myself to give up sugar completely. I have blood in my sugarstream. Fortunately for me, the perfectionist won that battle. It was sort of a game. Can you go 2 days without sugar? 5? Upon the week mark I was feeling a little cocky – I hadn’t really been challenged yet. Bring out the big guns. So when PMS hit with a vengeance and Aunt Mary Catherine’s world famous blueberry pie was offered, a meek, unsteady voice emerged from me and quietly said “No, thank you.” To be honest, I don’t know whose voice that was or why she was allowed to speak. As I calmly watched others imbibe in the pie I love so dearly, I knew I’d done the right thing but did it have to be so damn hard?!

my newest addiction

I continue pushing forward. Life goes on. Is this lifestyle for everyone? Let’s hope not! But I can live with giving up some things if it means lessening the severity and/or frequency of migraines. ‘No, thank you’ is much easier than ‘Mommy can’t right now, her head hurts’.

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I ask you –

Have your holidays been full o’plenty?

Sweet or salty? What would be harder to limit or give up entirely?

Name your guilty snacking pleasure!

Old Macdonald Had a Farm

Still running, still training, still finding funny stuff to share with you all.

people with funny bones

On today’s episode of crazy things you find in Texas, let me introduce you to exhibit A. When running isn’t going your way, slow to a crawl and find humorous photo opportunities. Guaranteed to make you feel less guilty.

I have so many questions

In a society of “let’s name everything!”, why should anything be exempt? We name our land – hello, Kel’s Corner -, our creeks, our pets, and, sometimes, even our alternate personalities. No judgement. You should try it sometime. Join the club. It’s fun in here.

no yellow lines

You know you’re in the country when road lines cease to exist. It’s just you and 2 ditches. Thankfully for me it was a dry day and I could sit in the middle of the road, prop my phone up against a water bottle, and snap photos to my heart’s content.

my new friends

Have I ever mentioned my deep-seated love for cows? I once raised a cow named Bluebell. Yes, you’re accustomed to my jokes, but I’m very serious this time. When I was a little girl, my dad would let us bottle feed the calves on our farm. There was an innocence to growing up around these huge animals. Sadly many children today don’t know a thing about livestock or where our food comes from. I intend to ensure mini knows all about it. Shouldn’t be too hard: she already prefers animals over people anyway. Problem solved.

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I ask you –

Why did they name it Shit Creek? Side note: have you watched Schitt’s Creek? Hilarious.

Ever bottlefed cows?

Tell me you understand where the food you eat originated. Please. Don’t let me down.

Time Travel

haHA

Located in the small North East Texas town of Bogota (pronounced Buh-Go-Tuh) – we’re country people, every vowel is soft – my inner child had to preserve this moment via blog.

Spending every weekend with all the people I deeply love has opened my soul in new ways. Growth doesn’t just happen individually. Though it’s incredibly sad we have been unable, for a million different reasons, to bring everyone together when it does happen it is unbelievably satisfying.

These are my people, my family, my ancestors, my history. They shaped me; I model my own aspects of motherhood around the things they taught me. Aren’t we always watching?

After a powerful and heartfelt dialogue, the truth came crashing down on me. For all the years I’d been so focused on justice, the fact of how much my father truly loved my siblings and I was overlooked. It had gotten jumbled up with the negative emotions, with the heaviness of grief. Who knows? Maybe this is the next step toward forgiveness. While my second cousin (a necessary detail because of age differences) sometimes seemed to be sucked into his own grief and recollection of dealing with the literal aftermath of his youngest cousin’s suicide, a valuable lesson of stepping up and doing the right thing was not lost on me. Although the details were painful to hear, even after all these years, the weight of tragedy that has befallen our family is such to renew a commitment in always making sure my family, and others, feel they are not alone.

My uncle looked up to my father; he was devastated by his death; his own kind and patient demeanor just couldn’t get past my dad being gone. He felt somehow responsible, from my understanding, that he wasn’t there for my dad, but I know even if my uncle had voiced these feelings to others he wouldn’t have easily believed he was in no way tied to his older brother’s decisions. But that’s how guilt works, isn’t it? It isn’t always the black and white of actual guilt, it’s the perception of what we believe. That psychology degree is coming in strong today. All this being said, the past cannot be changed but I can clearly see some valuable lessons for the future.

As stories were told regarding the sacrifices my father made for us children and his “perfectionism” – their words, not mine! – I understand even more why I am the way I am. I will say I have admitted to having such lofty expectations of others based on my own value of being a perfectionist it makes life difficult at times. But I’m really trying to curtail the urges. Sometimes the proverbial skeletons in the closet make way for more coats, umbrellas, and miscellaneous crap relegated to a dark space. Every family has them. But the willingness of those who choose to face the uncertainty, tell about it, and answer questions can not be minimized. I’m so blessed to have this time with my brave aunts, cousins, and great aunt. Their stories are memorialized in my writing albeit gray and very parallel to all the other lines of randomness. It’s a blog, not a dissertation.

Admittedly, during the hardest moments of conversation, I found myself re-centering my thoughts on what I could touch and feel in a very literal sense. My fear was that by becoming invested in another’s memories I would take on those feelings as I so often do. The reminder I am not a rescuer circled in my mind; I think I did well because I was able to stay removed even when sobs threatened to explode from my cousin’s chest. Later that night there was a self-congratulatory moment for being brave and refraining from the immediate desire to run away. It’s funny (only to me, I’m sure) how I’ve been desperate to hear these recounts yet also a little panicky I won’t be able to appreciate them. How can that be? I’m the most accepting person I know! The small nods to my father’s cooking skills, his desire to encourage our schoolwork despite his own childhood struggles with dyslexia, and his exceptional housekeeping goals are a testament to things I deem important still. Please don’t take this to mean if you can’t cook well, hate education, and suck at cleaning I dislike you or we can’t be friends. I just may not visit often. Kidding! And as I write, errr type, these lines, I realize so clearly I’m the apple who didn’t fall very far from the tree. In closing, this lengthy post has gone many directions. Perhaps you have chosen to locate any italicized sentences and only read those for a daily dose of humor then move on with your business. Fair enough. However, for any who have stuck with me until the bitter end, thank you.

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I ask you –

Do you have a family storyteller or history re-liver?

Hope you all have the most joyful Thanksgiving! This year may be quite different than all the years previously, but there’s thankfulness to be found in every single day. Wishing you and yours the best!

What Healthy Looks Like

You know what? I like being able to be counted on. In a world of empty promises, I’m dependable and have a “psychotic drive”, to name a backhanded compliment once received. I’m not mad. So if the best and brightest minds need some help, why be so quick to dismiss it when they, too, ask for a little help?

Credit: Nuraar, located via Instagram

Society has really wrecked the openness necessary to cope with hard things while simultaneously making it easier. Don’t ask me how this is such a conundrum. Everything is available at our fingertips yet mental health is still taboo. I have my suspicions; perhaps it can be traced back to times of witches and evil spirits.

Upon learning a close family member suffers from severe depression and anxiety, diagnosed much later in life, it inspired me to impulsively share with her (and many others in the room) my own struggles. I, too, take medication to combat the effects. Whoohoo. What a relief to be so open. Considering my childhood trauma, it should come as no surprise but I’ve kept it under wraps for so long for a variety of reasons.

I never wanted help. This type A personality loathed even the consideration of asking for help. I thought what I felt was normal. Too bad it took so long to realize this didn’t have to be. Even more than what I felt inside, I was afraid to ask for help for fear of this information falling into the wrong hands. I was afraid others might think I was an unfit parent and take my daughter away. I was afraid of very real scenarios and many only created in my paralyzed mind. It’s a very sad existence to live in a world where others have power over you, real or otherwise.

possibly one of my favorite photos ever

For the record, I take medication to combat debilitating anxiety. Sometimes I struggle with depression. But, more importantly than any part of this, I’m a good mom because I realized how these difficulties were affecting my relationship with a sweet, brave girl who deserves a fully engaged role model.

And I’ll be damned if I’m ashamed of that.

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I ask you –

Any dark secrets you want to share on this most public forum?

Do you or others struggle with anxiety?

This is why…shameless.

Escape

I’m taking a break! No, not really. With all the rush rush of a not-so-simple society everyone needs a break now and then. A prior gym manager I consider a good friend recently told me there’s a nameless disease inhabiting us with the primary symptom of always needing to have a flight booked. As I type this, it feels as if I’m forcing myself to write and am unable to find the correct words for what I want to share.

Perhaps I shall start with photos instead.

My dream – amongst others – of owning a bookstore slash coffee shop slash wine bar may never be realized so I shall live vicariously through other’s dreams.

playing with fire

A visit to the east coast isn’t complete without red wine and Oreo truffles! Oh chocolate, how could you betray me? Reconnecting with those whose opinion often enhances your own is incredibly important in building lasting relationships but also because it makes the heart grow stronger. Though some things don’t require re-hashing, evidence (self described) exists it is possible to start over. I think what I’m getting at is this: damage can’t be undone, but trust can be renewed at a level only slightly different than before. There, that’s it! Not to say it doesn’t take a lot of work because it really does.

thrifting

If anyone feels the need to purchase this for me, price unknown, please make sure it can be delivered, if you don’t mind. Isn’t it adorable?! Can you see me and mini toodling down the street on this? Most likely Fred Flintstone-syle punctuated with the unmistakable complaining of a typical fournado who has better things to do. Still. I could terrorize the neighborhood in this gem!

sunsets are paradise

Lastly, seafood beneath the diminishing sun with the best company in the world is truly priceless. Great conversation, great food, and great love know no bounds; in fact, all may be attributed to the American dream. Doesn’t have to be a dream. Life may push people in multiple directions yet the ties that bind can always find a way.

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I ask you –

Are you or would you like to be a business owner? How about investing in my bookstore concept?!

Do you enjoy thrift shopping?

Tell me about your dream!

Misplaced my List

Why walk when you can run?! Fall brings about the desire to be outside at all costs.

A lovely thought came my way whilst preparing for a trip: when I’m motivated, nothing can match my drive to get something done; when I’m procrastinating, I rival the laziest sloth ever encountered and I will f- around until the last possible moment. Truth be told.

Thankfully this blog isn’t on the lesser end of the spectrum. In all this time I haven’t adopted an Eyore voice of “poor pitiful me, I have to work on the blog”. I’m truly excited to do it. I make time even if it is Sunday afternoon when I publish Monday morning. Like clockwork, it’s there. To be genuinely excited about something someone else may see as a ‘have to’ instead of a ‘want to’ is fascinating to me. Grocery shopping: have to. Blog: want to.

Running is also in the category of want to, but I will confess sometimes it’s a have to. As in, have to for my sanity and the continuation of not going to prison. You know, details! Running and blogging have some similarities, really. They’re both solo sports. Although there are elements of other people interaction, the brunt of them happen where motivation and drive meet. Not to say I don’t rely on my readers, coach, race manager, etc. Nothing wrong with having individual goals; in fact, it is quite welcomed.

As is the norm, my plans are riddled with speed bumps. An injury, an expected race cancellation, just the regular things. They seem to happen at random, but I’m not convinced. Perhaps it’s a voice telling me to slow down. Nevertheless, I continue making plans, even if they may be reworked time and again.

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I ask you –

On a scale of 1 to you’ve got to be kidding, how would you rank your motivation?

Do you have any prison stories? PG only, please. Weak stomach here.

Name some things you have to do and some you want to do.