Birthdays and Adventures

I recently celebrated a momentous birthday occasion: 34! I’m sure I’ve mentioned before I have a twin, right? The game is always who can tell the other happy birthday first. She usually cheats and sends the text shortly after midnight. At least we’re in the same time zone now because it got tricky for awhile. The cake of my choosing is this luscious lemon, blueberry concoction of yumminess. There’s no other words.

Incredible-ness

And I went deep into Oklahoma to explore the Wichita Mountains, namely Mount Scott. Mostly I went with the promise of incredible post-hike Italian food. Which did not disappoint.

Then I chopped off my Fabio-like locks, as well as my mini’s. Ha. If they even remotely resembled Fabio’s, I wouldn’t be here. Hence the cut. And mini only got a trim. Calm down.

Baby muscles in progress

Then we went fishing! It’s a very long story why I don’t fish – for another day – but I caught one this time. And mini caught a catfish. Get it, get it!

A girl and her fish

I’m attempting to stay well, but my non-Coronavirus related sneezing is about to drive me nuts. Stupid allergies. If these trees could just skip blooming, I’d be happy. Who needs bees anyway? Oh, the flowers.

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I ask you –

Care to state your age?

When I was a child, my family were beekeepers. Do you know anyone in this profession?

Tell me your last adventure!

Next Up!

Rock climbing

Sometimes I write entire posts in the blissful space between falling asleep and dreaming. Often there’s an internal struggle: should I get up to actually type these words or will I remember them the next day? The answer is always the same. I fall asleep, then spend the next morning attempting to re-create what my sleepy mind so eloquently said in monologue. Never fails.

In this short space of unemployment, rest and relaxation have helped with creativity. Or forced it. Whichever. I’ve tried some new recipes. Decorated and rearranged a whole bedroom. Cleaned a bunch of sh*t. And finished an art project. Not bad for a self-proclaimed non creative person. I’m doing pretty well!

Semi-return to Keto

I also worked out almost daily. Built some muscle. Gained a few necessary lbs. And took walks outdoors with the soothing sounds of nature and angry birds. I’ve made appointments, attended appointments, and considered joining a yoga studio. I’m zen in my short-lived creativeness! Minus those pissed off birds.

There’s something to be said for time on your hands. Nowhere to be; no time clock to punch. Waiting on others can be a lesson in futility. Or a blessing in disguise!

Now let me see what that weightless class is all about. Suspending myself from the ceiling via a sex swing-looking contraption sounds like so much fun. Gotta go!

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I ask you –

How often do you find yourself with extra time on your hands?

Bet you also wish you remembered some of the greatest things thought of before falling asleep, right?

Cookies: favorite kind?

We Have a Winner!

Saturday, September 7, 2019

Typically I have several ongoing posts in varying stages of completion. It’s rare I feel compelled to hurriedly write a post for quick upload. And I like to protect mine and my family’s privacy so events and things reported here are most likely at least a week behind.

But today I have something important to share! On Monday, I received an email stating I was one of 30 first prize winners in a contest hosted by Brooks – a well-known running shoe and apparel company headquartered in Seatle, Washington. I love their brand and run in their shoes, specifically the Adrenaline GTS. Huge fan, if you can’t tell.

These are but a few

My first thought was I’ve been spammed because who actually ever wins these contests? No one I know. I verified the email came from the company Brooks was using to distribute prizes, completed the information, and refused to believe it could be true. Later, I browsed the Brooks website to see if anything substantial had been posted. Ask and ye shall receive.

I found my submission complete with photo I had uploaded for the 20 Year Drop contest. I may have screamed out loud, saved 40+ screenshots of the page, and called my parents. Does this mean I’m famous?!

Screenshot 1 of a lot

So what’s the prize, you ask? Only something incredible! I won a free pair of Adrenaline GTS shoes every year for the next 20 years. 20 years!!! I’ll be almost 54 years old then. I hope I’m still running at that age. Running my mouth, definitely. Running on fumes, absolutely!

A huge thank you to Brooks for creating a shoe literally designed for PR’s, as well as a contest with real people who can win. I never knew such a thing existed.

Unbelievable as this story is, because of course that’s how most of my life has been, credit be to the perfect one watching over me. Everything in my life has changed since I accepted that my spiritual health is even more important than I ever believed. Another bullet point in my testimony.


I ask you –

Have you ever won a contest? If not, know anyone who has?

Does this mean I need to play the lottery?

Share a story of spiritual life!

The Apples are Falling

Wall of wonder

In speaking to my mini human the other night, she was practicing unscrewing a bolt from a nut. Cue the lost your marbles jokes. She was asked how did she get to be so smart and she calmly answered something along the lines of “just like Mommy” or “Mommy taught me”. As flattering as this sounds, it really got me thinking.

I tend to shy away from labeling anyone ‘smart’; as a child, it wasn’t a compliment to be called smart. Probably because smart was a prefix to ‘alec’ or ‘ass’. Smart was often synonymous with being taken advantage of and having a group of friends that maybe not were real friends. I did well throughout school. Top 3 in both middle school and high school. My graduating class totaled less than 30 – don’t give me too much credit. Yes, I mean three-zero. “Smart” meant I received several scholarships which I am most grateful for. But there’s a dark side to being smart.

Picking flowers in East Texas

It did absolutely nothing for me when I went to college. I had no study habits because those smarts gave me this false belief college work would come as naturally as it had all the years prior. What a surprise. I didn’t know how to take notes. I didn’t know how to follow along to a lecture and extract the important pieces. I struggled. A lot. In my mind, being smart would carry me through 4 years and I’d emerge with this fabulous degree. You can laugh at any time. I am. Smart meant peanuts in college.

Resting on my laurels I did not

I had to learn how to study, how to succeed in a higher education setting, and how to do what worked best for me to get through. I made it. But, again, it was a struggle. So being smart? It’s just a word with a whole lot of promise and no deliverance. And I don’t like to call anyone such lest they learn the struggle like I did. I prefer words like strong, brave, and a good thinker. These words mean more to me than the book smarts that would have failed me had I not quickly realized the only way I was going to make it to a degree was by my own merit. So whenever my mini does something extraordinary or I see her little mind moving as fast as it can to figure out a puzzle, I compliment her on her perseverance and determination. Those are the skills I want her to notice about me and others. That’s what I want her to believe she has inherited from me. Because supermodel beauty and above average talent won’t pay my bills. Unless you count humor. I could pay about $2.93 of the water bill.

If I paid myself!

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I ask you –

How do you compliment your child(ren) and self?

Were you truly prepared for any type of higher education?

Tell me you went to a huge school with hundreds of people! What’s that like?

And we shall call her –

Betty. Betty White, of course. Why are you not laughing with me? I am a competent, mature woman in her early 30’s, a patient and loyal mother – what better time in my life to name an inanimate object?! Ok, so you could probably list a million other times, but why start all that?

New whip

She’s a beautiful hunk of steel! The only way she could be better is if she was actually made of steel. Of the tank persuasion preferably.

She drives smoothly and gets a whole 35.5 mpg. I’ll take it! In fact, I drove the 3 hours home with 1/4 tank of gas. Winning! I’m slowly becoming more comfortable driving again. It’s much worse in stop/go situations, like traffic, and in any weather conditions that aren’t full sun and dry roads. So basically a lot of the time. I’m testing some cognitive techniques – will update soon. Many people I’ve spoken to state the accident may have been taken so hard by me because I’ve never before been the driver in an accident and I was already dealing with the daily stress of driving long distances. Either way, it can be overcome.

Chauffeur, not pictured

So I will love her and clean her and call her Betty. And she will patiently chauffeur me and my mini human around until, one day in the far far far far (are you getting the point?) future, her wheels fall off. Then I will be sad.

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I ask you –

When was the last time you purchased a car/truck/van/tank?

Have you ever named your vehicle?

Do most people expect to keep a vehicle for the life of the vehicle? Unrealistic?

Random Day, part 36

In typical Running On Fumes fashion, here are several random thoughts to start your morning:

Many years ago, before I joined the Navy, my best friend and I stumbled – quite possibly literally – into a venue in Ft. Worth. As several mullet-bedazzled men in cutoff jean shorts and fanny packs took the stage, we were appalled. Our lives were forever changed. Introducing The Mullet Boyz! 3 intentional concerts later, any chance I have to see them I take. Like rock music and cowbell? I encourage you to visit us in Texas to see The Mullet Boyz! Sorry, they don’t play anywhere else. I tried to get them to come to Florida once. No dice.

A night of insanity – and so much fun!

Recently I discovered my blog audience includes one of my Anytime Fitness bosses. Guess I shouldn’t have made all those jokes. Though very taken aback, I am also secretly, not so secretly, proud and amazed. But I’m upset with myself because I’ve never given them the credit they are due. It was because of them I received the huge opportunity to write this blog. They hired me upon my return to Texas almost a year ago and have been nothing short of encouraging and accommodating. As a family running a family business with many other projects being run simultaneously, I can’t imagine how lively their holiday gatherings must get! And they’re originally from “up North” so the colorful language and accent are, by far, my favorite! We get along well. If you ever have a chance to do business or work for anyone in the Destefano family, please acknowledge you are a part of their family. And make sure you laugh at their jokes – up North and all.

Clean clothes, clean bear

Meet Mister Bear. Pronounced “Mist-uh Bay-yuh”. He’s been a staple of our household for approximately 4 years. Like a loyal teddy bear, he sleeps with us, occasionally eats dinner with us, and has his very own wardrobe which consists of “sleeping panties and a t-shirt”. Yes, I know he has a male prefix; I don’t make the rules around here. Clearly. You see, Mister Bear is my Munchkin’s lovey. In case you haven’t figured that out. And when she’s not home, it’s my job to wash his clothes and make sure he is happy. He’s an integral part of this family. …one time, I forgot to bring him on our road trip. Cue the mom tears. I felt so bad. My mini was devastated and the look of ‘HOW COULD YOU?!’ still haunt me. Not even joking right now. We’ve all only barely recovered from such a traumatic experience.

Training. I think I was supposed to start last week. Ooops. What with the snow and some other things to deal with, my plan is still in progress. Technically, I’m not late. Yet. I’m hashing out a few more small details then I’ll get started. If you negate the 4 hours I was driving each day, theoretically I should have all this extra time to run, right? But much like not paying for a coffee each day and putting that money into savings, something always comes up to spend it on instead. Time is the exact same way. I tell myself I’ll get up early and do something smart, but what really happens is I play gummies for another hour and get nothing done. Time management trickery.

I’ll keep you posted on the continuation of my sh*t show!

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I ask you –

Favorite obscure artists/band?

Have you ever worked in a family business? Perhaps you run your own business?

Tell me you also had a lovey. Bonus points if you still have him/her/it!

Aftermath / Letting the Dust Settle!

Day 1 Thoughts:

Wow! I certainly didn’t expect to achieve a new PR (personal record) and definitely not by 10 mins. Last November, I ran a 2:28 (again, that’s 2 hours and 28 mins) at the Norfolk Harbor Half Marathon in Norfolk, VA. On Saturday, I ran a 2:18! Before, I had a pacer and a whole group of people I was running alongside. This current race had no pacers, very little course support, and it’s a 3 mile loop – which means I am running the same route each loop. #boring

Prior to take off

But I felt good and was basically running off of pace versus staying tuned into my watch and monitoring every number. When I saw 2 hrs at almost 11.5 miles, I was tired, but I thought oh my, I could really PR today.

Overall, I’m sore. There is some hip pain and a large blister on my left foot, but I know, no matter the time, I can make it through tomorrow’s race. And even if I hate it, I have a shiny new PR as consolation!

Finish Face

Day 2 Thoughts:

When I woke up at 5am to eat my oatmeal, I wasn’t feeling it. My body was sore, the blister was looking particularly angry, and I had to give myself a long pep talk just to get out of bed. I told myself I at least had to try. It’s what I trained for. 18 weeks of training culminating in this weekend where I had two chances to prove to myself I can do it.

Completely fake smile

As I began running, seeing many of the same faces from yesterday, I started to loosen up. It got hot quick so I shed all the extra layers, including the Camelbak and ran until I was ready to either slow my pace or walk. After the first lap (remember each lap is a 5k aka 3 miles), I knew unless I broke something or was forced to stop, I would continue. Lap #3 was a philosophical turning point. I kept thinking about my Munchkin – the challenges she will face in her life and how I am preparing myself to be by her side. A thought that continues to stick with me is she is not my excuse to do hard things, sometimes she’s not even my reason. (It can be hard to convey what I mean here. Be open minded.) What she is to me is my audience. She’s always watching. And if she sees me sucking it up and and showing up every time, then perhaps those values will also translate to her own life. Time will tell.

Pain face

In saying all this, allow me to get to the point. You’re welcome! 2:27. I almost couldn’t believe it. To think I had to talk myself into getting started and these tired legs managed a what would have been a PR prior to the day before inspires confidence in a future marathon goal. I may not can walk much later – and definitely not tomorrow – but right now my smile speaks for itself.

Fritos, banana, and whatever else they’d let me eat

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I ask you –

What’s my chance of feeling 100% within 24 hours? – I know, I’m laughing, too

Tis the Season – Meet the Family

For all the ways it could have gone, there were no fistfights, duels, or police presence so that’s saying something. Tell me you have similar fears when your family gets together. Humor me. I had a recurring dream of this very scenario, but what was most telling was the fact I washed my hands of the situation and didn’t engage. This boundary training is going semi-well.

Group photo. Many of these family members I have not seen in over 10 years or more. It was by sheer amazement so many were able to be here this Thanksgiving. Definitely owe it to my beautiful, inspiring Aunt Mary Catherine – she’s the ring leader.

It only took 16 tries

My siblings and I. Long story short, my brother and I haven’t had the most solid relationship and repair is difficult. However, this photo means so much to me.

buncha’ clowns

My sweet girls. These two have made my whole life complete. I treasure every minute they can spend together. Once Munchkin was able to wrap her mind around the truth she shares her name with her great great aunt, it got much easier! They even have the same birth month. Mind boggling, I know.

Piano sold separately

Lastly, this simple photo of Aunt Mary Catherine and I. She’s 92 years of joy with the heart and soul of a woman who mixes wisdom with the patience of a saint. I can only hope I am a small vision of her selflessness.

The saint and I

Overall, this family “reunion” of sorts was comforting to my mind. It can be so hard to juggle time with family, work, keeping in touch, etc etc etc – some things tend to fall away. I love hearing the stories and seeing the new faces. Much like the fitness industry, things change so quickly…yet everything stays the same. We all want to be heard, seen. And re-charging the batteries in my heart starts right here.

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I ask you –

Share the juiciest details of your family gatherings. Any shockers?!

What family member are you closest to?

Are you re-charged after family holidays? Or more in distress than ever? – it depends on the family, if you ask me!

When Life Goes Left – Harboring Disappointment in Others

Revenge is a dish best served cold.

Offhand I can’t think how revenge will fit into one of my posts, but I’m sure it will somewhere at some point. The word harboring led me down a path to the above quote about revenge. You know, in those moments of exhaustion and disappointment in dealing with people you have no control over, i.e. parents, relatives, etc. In life we do so much to please others, to accommodate them and their feelings, but we end up losing sight of what matters to us. Cue the disappointment.

Similar situation: you’ve worked your behind off in the gym, counted every calorie, drank nothing but water day in and day out ye still don’t see the results you know you deserve. Disappointment and self doubt set it. “Why are you even doing this? It would be easier to give up. Who really cares anyway?” All lines of self doubt. My personal favorite: “That’s what you get, Kel.” Damage is done when this crosses your lips. It must be stopped long before reaching the point of no return. But how?

Pre-gaming a run with a huge bucket of popcorn = never disappointing

By letting go of your expectations. Granted, expectations are wonderful to have. We have them of ourselves and of everyone around us. They’re truly useful! Until they’re not. Until they eat away, leaving you devoid of hope and gratitude. Expectations can even leave you feeling disappointed in the expectation itself! Who’s idea was this anyway?! The holidays always find a way to suck the life out of me. Expectations run high – I must juggle mommy life with work life with relative life with happy life. It’s no secret: I don’t love the holidays. News flash: sometimes I don’t like them at all. Because, as a child, they were a constant source of disappointment. Not like I didn’t get the toy I wanted for Christmas-type of disappointment. Much deeper. And as hard as I try to change the expectation each year, not being able to control how others impact my plans is tough.

When life takes you left, steer right. I was listening to this great podcast the other day (the name currently escapes me…standby) and the host said something to the effect of “balance is bullsh*t”. I’m paraphrasing, but she really did use those words. There’s no such thing as balance?! Wait a minute. From the time you were a small child, a life of balance has been openly discussed. If I don’t have balance, then what do I have? You have an expectation of balance, but balance isn’t real. Unless it’s what keeps you from tipping over whilst standing on 1 foot. The ideal 50/50 is unobtainable. Something in your life will always hold tight to a part of you, be it parenthood, your job, your commitment to yourself, whatever it is. May I say this awakened the part of me that always felt shame for not having it together? If I don’t have this so-called balance crap, but there’s no expectation to have it anyway, why am I wasting my time worrying about it?

Now…I’m not.

Chai has my heart – mostly for its relaxing effects

Mantra: At any moment, I will be pulled into thousands of different directions. I will do my best to navigate what is best for me and the people who depend on me. I am not tethered to my own expectations or those of anyone else. I am free of the balance construct. I will tilt, bend, and list to both port and starboard, but I will not break. I may feel disappointment in others and, whether justified or not, I am allowed to feel this way.

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I ask you –

Is this psychology degree paying off or what?!

What is your most prevalent emotion?

Tell me what in your life sucks the soul from you.

Vaccinations / Frozen II / Thanksgiving

The past 2 weeks were a lot to talk about so I’ll get to the point:

I was inoculated against diseases. Yay bandaids. No photos, please.

First time movie experience with Munchkin – Frozen 2 for the win!

Elsa attire or bust

She dressed herself then had a lengthy conversation with Nanners.

My running buddy

Watched a Christmas Parade! Yay all the candy. My yay is silenced.

Photographer-in-training, i.e. me

There was Thanksgiving + family (post forthcoming) + a lengthy drive in many directions.

Holiday cheer in written form

There wasn’t a lot of running happening the week of Thanksgiving, but I managed to get in 2 fairly good runs. Saturday afternoon was a bust, so the 10 miler on Sunday was rough!

Hope you all had a great time, as well!

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I ask you –

What holiday(s) is/are your favorite?

Parades are so much fun, no matter your age – naysayers?

On average, how many cards do you mail a year? (not counting bills…people still do that, right?)