Very thankful to a nice man named Alex who left the lovely confines of his home to help me remove lug nuts that might’ve been tightened by the Hulk himself. Seriously, I’m a self-sufficient young woman who can do all kinds of things herself, but when I’m literally standing on top of the bar trying to remove the stupid, non-cooperative lug nuts…well, all kinds of words were coming out of my mouth. This wasn’t my idea of the donuts I tend to enjoy! $500 later – Betty has a brand new pair of shoes!
Not sure who invented these toasty foot warmers, but thank you times a million! I’ve owned these for several years. I don’t know why I hadn’t tried to use them properly until Thanksgiving! Feets and legs! Anyway, they’re awesome. Get yourself a pair. Or ten!
My friend recently posted a photo of her dogs with the caption “tfw (insert caption here)”. Normally I try to figure out things on my own before referring to Dr. Google. So as I wracked my brain to decipher what TFW meant, which bordered on the inappropriate – to f*** with – to the insane – tiny fried woman, I realized I was completely clueless. I don’t mind being politically incorrect, Correction: my anxiety says we do mind, but I do try to stay updated on the slang our society is currently using. I’m not old nor young. Not naive yet sometimes a little clueless. But as much as I tried, I came up with no words which would make sense in what she posted.
Totally didn’t see that coming. Thanks, Webster. You rescued me from a life of ignorance. Now I must come up with ways to use my new knowledge!
I ask you –
When was the last time you had a flat? Did you need help?
What brand/style are your favorite socks?
Tell me an acronym you didn’t know the meaning of!
Yes, I was aware that children, for a short time, were considered mail-able. It seems weird, but doctors used to prescribe cigarettes for pregnant women, so maybe it’s not too weird.
We recently celebrated my elder child’s 30th birthday, and of course I was reminded of the circumstances of how I was alerted to her arrival. For you see, I was cruising around South America at the time and communications between me and the States were irregular and crude.
I knew she would be along pretty soon, and it was after a very long midnight watch up in the gun director that I settled into my rack for a precious 3-hour nap before the endless cycle of events of a warship underway, the next go round of eat, work, and watch. With great surprise my then-Senior Chief (RIP) thrust his hand past the blue-curtain barrier that defined my sacrosanct rack with a just barely not growled “Here! Read this!”
I had been handed, of course, the long awaited for birth announcement. And now, here it was, a telegram for the love of God, sent to me by the Red Cross. Sleep was out of the question, and I walked fore and aft, bilge to bridge making the announcement to anyone who would listen. I finally ran out of people to tell, and I ended up on the port side main deck, smoking a celebratory cigar while watching the wilderness of the Andes Mountains slide aft. I’m sure there are things about that day that I have long since forgotten, but I still have that telegram up in my study where I keep a number of priceless mementos of my life to remind me of that amazing morning.
There’s a wide variety of trinkets and tchotchkes in that cache of memories, an unsurprisingly number amongst them are letters: Honest-to-God, sat-down-with-pen-and-paper letters written at various times and delivered to me (via paths that can only be guessed at) to whatever ship I was on and wherever I was. Those letters are occasionally pulled from storage, their decades-old creases unfolded so that I may again experience an echo of the thrill I enjoyed when I first received them so long ago. A few of them still are redolent of the fuel-oil, paint, and steel smell of a warship underway and it’s that odor that instantly transports me back to a very different time and place.
Today’s Sailors feel they are lucky. E-mails back and forth to the home-front are everyday events, phone calls common, and video chats with loved ones unremarkable. Keeping up with the day-to-day activities of the household and families has never been easier or more immediately possible for the Sailor.
And, I think it safe to say, that very, very few of the Active Duty folks would willingly return to my Morse code and semaphore way of doing things. Hard to blame them, really. If I could have been part of a video call back in 1985, well, let’s just say I might be missing parts of my anatomy. Running your life/marriage via mail that makes it way home via a wandering and unpredictable path (Say, over to an oiler, then to an amphib, and finally over to a series of Air Force Base storage areas) sometimes takes longer than the deployment. Indeed. Stories of mail arriving home after the Sailor used to be very common.
And it is also true that we could on occasion call home by radio, thanks to ham radio operators and long distance phone calls. It was called the MARS system, although it was probably easier to call the planet than it was to call home. MARS was wonderful to have, but weird. We had to use Navy radio techniques (“Over”) which were hard to teach to small children, and there was a very long list of things that were taboo to talk about on the radio. Imagine phoning home and then being prosecuted. Ah, the perils of military life.
But emails and phone calls can’t be kept, cherished, and handed down like the letters and other messages I have from those long-ago days. It might be fun to see a new e-mail in the inbox in the morning, but every morning? I wonder. And, I wonder if that experience can match the intense feelings of anticipation and joy (and sometimes desolation) when the Boatswain’s Mate of the Watch passed “Mail Call!” Remember, that would sometimes happen only twice a month.
It was possible to tell by holding that the letter had power. You were holding something she had held just a while ago. That letter had been in your house! Your daughter can write! All of those things so very far away. A talisman of home, a status hard to convey onto an e-mail.
Mail and its service seems to be failing, albeit slowly, and the whole process is probably doomed. Sad I suppose, but such is the inexorable march of time. I try to remember that everything in the world today will someday be gone and considered either quaint or no longer understood, enigmas from the past like Stonehenge or the Antikythera Mechanism. One of my more ridiculous thoughts is of my great, great grandchildren attempting to decipher those letters found one day moldering away in dusty old box. “Jeez,” I can hear them say, “Who was this guy? Why didn’t he just flash over and see Grammy Lynn instead of doin’ this? And what’s a ‘ship’?” Sic transit Gloria mundi.
 My days in the Navy started before Desert Shield/Desert Storm. Mail services had been archaic/slow for years, but improved drastically after American service members started going to the Middle East in serious numbers. I’m not complaining, it’s just the way it was. And, we could always tell when Oprah or Sally Jesse Raphael had a story about the folks in the Persian Gulf as after those shows, we would receive a mountain of mail on the fantail addressed to Any Sailor/Soldier.
As always, a huge thank you to my friend, Dan, for his sole contribution to this RoF special piece. I know I have many other friends/family with stories for days of their time and I’d love to post them, too. Please contact me if you have a contribution or if you have a story but are unable to put it into words that make sense – I’m hear to listen and write on your behalf. Always! -Kel
Back on the subject of friendships and how I pretty much suck at making new ones, it turns out one of mini’s classmates/friend is the daughter of a young man I worked with at Sonic a billion years ago because I’m old. Correction: I’m not the typical kindergartener’s mother’s age. And I’m totally fine with this!
Anyway, I’ve had a few encounters with this classmate’s mother, who is married to the guy I worked with. Keep up. The classmate is sweet and seems to do well in school. If mini’s antecdotes are to be believed. Each “Mommy encounter” has been pleasant until recently. I have her number saved and we’ve text before – she seems nice. However, the most recent time I saw her she said wildly funny things. She made an Anna Nicole Smith joke – God rest her soul. What’s funny is I’m old enough to get the joke. She also underscored the struggles we’re going through as parents with very needy children! And if you know anything about me to this point, then you know my mom abilities border on the completely unprepared. By border, I mean fall spectacularly short.
Herein lies the real issue. I want to be friends with this hilarious woman. But I’m not good at the making friends thing. I believe I’m the funniest woman on earth so this should be simple, right? Make a few jokes, endear myself to her, then pounce! Did this get weird? Or are you supposed to court them first? Told you…old lady here. Do I schmooze her with coffee? What if she doesn’t like coffee? Hard pass. We can’t be friends. Ever. I’ve already stalked her on social media which is how I found out about the husband/previous coworker piece. At least I’m honest!
Did you know: Children laugh, on average, 150 times a day. Adults laugh, on average, only six times a day. This is why adults are so grumpy! Because they don’t laugh enough. Find something to laugh at! I suggest starting with yourself.
Finally, my self-talk game is getting ridiculous. I sound like I’m talking to a geriatric horse. Come on, ole girl, the stairs aren’t too bad. See. Told you I was funny.
Clearly this week’s schedule doesn’t think I have a job. Sheesh. I know it’s Thanksgiving, but that’s doesn’t mean I have the week off. Anyway, I did have several days at home so I made do.
Typically my VO2 max is 45. One day it was 46. Honestly I don’t pay much attention to it, until Monday, when it reached 47! No idea what this means, but whoohoo. Garmin also said my training was peaking, so there’s that, too.
Funny not funny story: this training cycle has resulted in some strange chafing situations. And by strange I mean incredibly painful in places one would never wish to be chafed.
For Tuesday’s goal pace run, I went to the track so I wouldn’t have to think about crossing roads. But when the headwind hit me, I had a hard time sticking with it. My legs were seriously struggling but I managed to stay on track (pun intended).
haHA! Check out that 9:12! Learning I really don’t like progression runs but I do rather well at them so there’s that good moment. Considering it was pre-turkey, pre-stuffing, pre-pie…and extremely windy…
Long run completed! Super early, super cold (real feel 15°), and super long! I started with 23 layers, a hat, gloves, and a whole lot else, but I made it.
As I’ve gotten older, developing friendships has become more important to me. I try to be an authentic friend. Short of stating my own sordid past, my attempts at being “real” are usually a make it or break it moment. Seems I ride the line up to the very instant it goes down the road of “I, too, have…(the equivalent of the word problems)” because I don’t really have problems; I have hang ups, hurts, and some very diverse life experiences! Nicely put, Kel.
There’s a blooming friendship I’m nurturing currently which stems from an unlikely encounter. She’s always very positive to be around; we laugh and cry together, typically at the same time. It’s a blast. But she has no expectation I will ‘fix’ anything going on in her life and she loves coffee so I rather enjoy her company. Win/win!
But in exposing ourselves to new people, the fear of rejection is always there. ‘What if I say too much, what if my past is overwhelming?’ – you know – all the stuff. I have a LOT of stuff. Thankfully, so does she and here we are! A few of our very first discussions were truth bombs, like a here you go, this is me, I understand if you want to grab your coffee and run away screaming now. Baggage. Maybe that’s more of what I have.
My mind sees myself as that frazzled woman who arrives at the gate juggling 4 oversized suitcases, then collapses in a chair between 2 put together businessmen, her luggage nearly killing them in a towering stampede, looks of disgust pointed in her direction. Yeah, that’s me! She smiles and waves without a care in the world, like her whackadoo bun isn’t escaping its confines and she didn’t just barely make it through security. Work with me, not against me; this is my vision.
Much truth lies in what we share with those closest to us, the ones privy to the good, bad, and oh-so-ugly. What we don’t share, however, is indicative of how relationships will progress. As this friendship is new, there are many things we don’t know about each other. A work in progress.
And I must find out how many pieces of luggage she takes to the gate.
I ask you –
When was the last time you forged a new friendship?
What is the length of your longest friendship?
My analogy game is a riot. Share what your mind sees when you think of yourself!
Introducing my newest special feature: Running on Fumes – Musings from the Mess Deck. For those not familiar with Navy lingo…a) a mess deck is a place aboard a Naval vessel where military personnel eat, socialize, and essentially live their lives and b) you may find tons of other Naval terminology in this previous post. Hope you enjoy!
My time in the Navy + my time on the East coast + my everything else = meeting some really incredible (and well-traveled) people. One of those people, Dan, I met while working for BAE in Norfolk, VA. We began working there within the same time period and often found ourselves working on/near the same projects which usually involved lots of walking and the occasional grumbling. More my part than his. Dan has a great sense of humor, often times rueful, but nonetheless fitting for any situation. Thankfully we’ve kept in touch. Below is a recent correspondence. I realize this post is much longer than probably any other on Running on Fumes – but I promise it’s worth it! I travel vicariously through others’ stories. Enjoy!
Note: yelling at the salad waitress is a story for another day. Safe to say, there will be more stories! And, we didn’t yell at her in a derogatory, downgrading way. She simply couldn’t hear us, though no fault of her own. More to come!
In a recent devotional, available via YouVersion, the below message (really, the entire passage) spoke to me like nothing has before.
Your answer will affect the way you look at life, tackle your troubles, and frame your circumstances. The answer to that question can give you the confidence to accomplish your calling or take away your courage to even begin. If you don’t answer that question with the truth of God, the devil will answer it for you with his bag of lies.
Take Hold of the Faith You Long For
The passage continues with these questions:
Who am I that I should write a book?
Who am I that I should start a business?
Who am I that I should be a teacher?
Who am I that I should help orphans overseas?
I had to sit with my awe because how could one paragraph encapsulate every single desire I’ve ever had? Yes, all of them. It went on to reference the Bible verse of Exodus 3 which is most commonly known as Moses and the Burning Bush; more importantly, this is when God uses the words “I AM”, as in “the great I AM”. Until that moment, I hadn’t realized this is the answer to every question beginning with Who Am I…? I AM!
Many times we flippantly reply ‘well, who am I’ when commenting on a situation or asking a question that often seems so obvious to us. But what if we believed our words when we said, loudly and proudly, I AM!
I AM a writer…a business owner…a teacher…a helper to orphans. And the greatest I AM says so.
I ask you –
Do you read a daily devotional?
How often do you find yourself thinking (or saying) “who am I…?”
There you have it, folks! Notwithstanding it was written in a trail runner magazine, doubles really are beneficial! Now…I have to forewarn. Doubles in the article and doubles I was originally thinking of are not the same. According to the writer, doubles are what you do when you run twice in one day (separated by a few hours, of course). According to me, doubles are when you run same pace/same distance multiple days in a row when planning to run back-to-back half marathon or marathon distances. Details. Ehhh.
I’ve not yet registered for the BMW Dallas Half Marathon on 12 December. I’m procrastinating because that’s what I typically do when I want to pay last minute fees and freak out about the cost. What can I say? I’m a smart person in an idiot’s body. Maybe I have that backwards? Anyway, I’m how many weeks deep into training and still haven’t registered. There’s just so much commitment when you take that final step! Alas, I am excited to race again; my goal is within reach and my fancy Garmin says the confidence I can reach my goal is very high. Even if it does occasionally say my training is unproductive. I still don’t get that part. Unproductive is doing nothing, like literally staring at my watch whilst daydreaming about running. That’s unproductive. If I’m outside running – or even inside running – I’m being productive! You’re not the boss of me! Which reminds me…I really need to find out if my running buddy is traveling to TX.
Update: Morgan from Oregon is traveling to Texas. Whoohoo!!!
Have I mentioned my tendency toward meditation lately? I finally downloaded an app – Smiling Mind – because it felt like I was more frustrated with trying to learn how to meditate than actually meditating. The app has helped a lot. It even includes meditation practice for children and families. Mini and I have done a few together; personally I like her lessons better than mine. Smiling Starfish. Look it up! I was able to use what I had learned during a long run recently – what a difference! I felt like I was in the right headspace, I was light on my feet, and the miles melted away. Nothing prompted my lean towards meditation except for a friend mentioning she was trying to embrace it and I wanted to be supportive. On my own wasn’t working, so here we are!
Back to doubles – I’d like to complete the Texas Triple, but it just seems too risky to try to race in May. The final weekend in May. A holiday weekend in May. In the summer. Do I trust my body and train and hope for the best? Or do I err on the side of caution remembering what heat illness feels like and cut my losses? Running doesn’t matter to anyone but me, yet I still want to be smart about it. There’s time.
I ask you –
Thoughts on doubles, double runs or double races?
Have you tried meditation? What app, if so?
Stay tuned for an upcoming list of future race options! Share yours with me!
What’s up with this: my legs have been exhausted lately. Even after two full days off, my legs are just slugging along at 50% of their normal get-up-and-go. I don’t think I’m overtraining. Ugh.
But in true me fashion, I continue running. I enjoy strides and intervals more than progression runs, that’s for sure! And goal pace isn’t too incredibly difficult. Hallelujah, because it’s a goal pace for a reason. The weather this week took a drastic turn towards frigid – 50s and rain which felt like 30° to me. Dramatic, huh? I had to find leggings and capris for my runs. Those short shorts weren’t doing it for me!
By the time strides rolled around on Thursday, the office felt like -20° and my patience had worn thin with the amount of cloud coverage. Back to the treadmill again.
As has become my routine, I did a switch from long run Saturday to Friday evening instead. AND I didn’t wait until the sun went down to keep cool! Straight from work was my motto so I would have no excuses.
Wouldn’t you know this long run was amazing? Every time I think (read: doubt) I can accomplish my goal, I have a great run that reenforces the work I’ve been putting into it.
My cherry tomato plant is still thriving, even into November! Perhaps bucket planting is the way to go next year.
Tooth fairy time, round 2. In an unexpected turn of events, she let it be pulled out by her Papa. Shocking. I was no part of any of these festivities. Teeth – when they’re not in a mouth – gross me out. $2 later, we have a winner.
There was also a week of drug-free activities, aka Red Ribbon Week. I’m still a little confused by this and I believe many memes already exist but I’m going to say it anyway…no one (I repeat, no one) has ever offered me drugs. I was offered cigarettes a lot, but not like real, illegal drugs. Maybe cocaine was too rich then. Anyway, just say no.
I digress. One of the week’s dress up days consisted of pajama day! My workplace really needs to get it together. Since I got to take my mini to school that day, we stopped for coffee first. Because no pajama day is complete without a huge coffee.
Edit: I heard, errr read, about National Novel Writing Month, aka NaNoWriMo, a nonprofit that challenges writers to complete 50,000 words in the month of November (roughly 1667 words daily). So it’s like a running streak, but writing instead. If you’re reading this, then you may/may not know today is November 1st. The organization encourages writers to participate in the daily goal in order to complete a novel, but many use it to brainstorm blog posts, etc. Always up for a good writing task. Let’s see how this goes!