Story Telling

Have I mentioned I saw my neighbor naked? Unfortunately, this is not a joke. Have I told you I considered registering for the upcoming, maybe, 45th MCM? Have I shared how much I hate teleworking? I need people!

6 feet, I’m sure

If the above answers are all no, then today you’re in luck! And if they’re yes, then sit down and shut up because you’re going to listen regardless of your wishes. Thank you for your attention to this very important matter.

Where should I start? Definitely with the nude neighbor. The funniest part is I don’t recognize him if he’s dressed. Circa this past summer, I was tasked with wandering around the neighborhood holding a lost, lonely dog looking for its owners. Most houses I visited either stated it wasn’t their dog or no one was home. The final house I came to a nice woman answered the door and invited me in. How kind. As I entered, I noticed they had been having a party because their outdoor pool was full of floaties and food plates littered the counter. Unless it always looks this way? The woman called to a man deeper into the house to check out the dog I was holding. From a back room, I could hear a blow-dryer turn off, then an older gentleman walked down the hallway. He forgot he was naked I suppose. As he told me who the dog belonged to, I did my best to keep my eyes averted. Then he turned away and walked back down the hallway. Lovely. Just wonderful. I quickly exited the front door, dog in tow. My final thought was this: that man had no hair. Why was he using a blow dryer?

I haven’t been motivated to run much. Read: not at all. With every race being cancelled, it’s felt pointless. Though I know running helps me immensely in uncountable ways, I’ve just felt blah. Then I remembered my marathon goal! And if I’m going to bake cookies every weekend, I best figure out how to burn them off pronto. Doing some research, I stumbled across dates for the Marine Corp Marathon. Fall. Right up my alley! The only way I can enter is by playing the lottery. The marathon lottery. However, the lotto rules were a no-go for me. If chosen, there is no refund of the near $200 price tag if, for whatever reason, you can’t make it to the event. There are deferment options, but that seems silly to waste someone else’s time who could have gone.

If only I could find a track

I finally decided to run a local (semi-local) fall race using a quite lenient 6 month marathon training plan. It probably sounds excessive but I know how my body behaves in the summer, as well as the glaring fact I’ve never run a marathon. Sure, two half marathons in two days is an accomplishment but it’s still not the same. In the meantime, I’m building a pre-training base by working on a four-runs-a-week schedule. 2 weeks in. It’s going splendidly. Full disclosure: my weight is a little higher than normal (approx. 10 lbs) and the pace is less than optimal but starting off with some extra weight is good for me because it drops off fast when you (I) get into double digits and pace will improve as I continue training. That summer body is only a training plan away!

As for teleworking, no one cares. I could complain all day, but the overarching truth is I’m employed, out of harm’s way, and get to spend loads of time with my clingy family. I beg for quiet time and wonder why everyone has to sit so close to me on the couch. The expectations are high. In other news, teleworking sucks. But I’m alive and well.

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I ask you –

Give me your biggest complaint! I can listen all day.

Have you ever encountered a naked neighbor? How did you handle it?

Got any marathon advice?

The Show Must Go On!

With a string of birthday months piled together, my house has seen so much partying! And it probably wishes they would end promptly. Spring is a very busy time: thunderstorms, flowers, parties, and whatever else we can get into.

Decoration skills: sub-par

The real deal is in April though. That’s when my mini me celebrates her rapid inclusion into the aging community. We may only be in the single digits and we haven’t progressed from one hand yet, but her attitude and independence tell a different story. Nonetheless, the show must go on!

Contrary to our plans for a huge get together, a smaller gathering was agreed upon. And by small I mean very very small. Seems the world had other plans for us. Run with it. But with the addition of unicorns, cake, and a photo prop wall, I think we achieved success! Small people just love the surprise of it all anyway. It was a magical day!

Unicorn Princess

Since her birthday was a weekday, she was treated to multiple celebrations! The weekend included a party and the weekday involved making cupcakes and pink jello! Oh, to be young again. Not to mention gifts galore. I must say my birthday was incredible – surely hers could be considered over the top.

Unicorn Princess, take 2

Until next year. 5 is a milestone, right? She seems to think so already.

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I ask you –

How much fun are children’s parties?

Do you prefer homemade cake or store purchased?

We’re accepting virtual happy birthday accolades! Send them all!

Rhyme Time

More Daniel Tiger jokes. Before now, I can’t recall a time I used the word “quarantine”. Or heard it so often. Surely I’m not the first who is completely, madly, irrevocably over this mess. Climbing atop my soap box… The media can shove it. The so called experts can shove it, too. Suddenly everyone has an opinion rooted in fact, or so they claim. Fear hangs around our neck like a scarf of many colors and it’s choking out every ounce of oxygen and common sense.

The more we search for the right answer or those who can solve our problems, the more we find nowhere to run. I don’t know what to tell you. All we can do is find our faith in whatever shape or form it appears. And perhaps remodel our homes with this abundance of time on our hands. Maybe I’ll re-decorate!

With the gym being closed, I’m thankful my trusty treadmill is available 24/7. Most of my exercise consists of rage vacuuming and repeatedly washing the same 2 dishes. And drinking at least 3 cups of coffee. Caffeine can cure anything! More cookies, please!

The power of color

There’s been fishing and puzzles and chalk and wondering if my mini’s birthday party will attract any guests. All I know is we will have cake and hand-washing and enough toilet paper! More jokes everyone is tired of hearing. Again, I’m thankful the tiny princess cares not about what happens in our wide world and she’s unaffected. When I told her church was cancelled but we’re able to watch it online, she didn’t bat one long eyelash. When I said we needed to go to Sam’s Club to purchase butter and I forewarned her it would probably be insanity inside, she stated she would hold my hand tighter. When I said we needed to stay home more and do things together as a family, her smile lit up the room. These things prove time and again that our youth need our attention now more than ever. Most don’t care about “things” – they value our time with them. Slowing down to savor these minutes and days isn’t such a bad idea afterall.

Couldn’t have said it better if I’d tried!

There’s always coffee. And bedtime.

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I ask you –

Anything I can do for you during this time?

How are you staying busy? I need more ideas!

Do you think this is our new norm?

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

__________________

I ask you –

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