A bustling Saturday morning

Most Saturdays, I wake up before 6:30 a.m. to Barley staring at me, his nose pressed to my nose, his hot death breath knocking me out of a dead sleep. It’s not a good way to wake up. This morning, however, I woke him up at 5 for some early morning chores.

The White River this morning after my run. Gorgeous!

I cleaned the bathrooms and the kitchen before driving out to Enumclaw to run 5 miles (I’m shocked, too) out in the wilderness. The only way I can run with the boys is if they’re able to be off-leash. They keep up if they can go their own pace. Otherwise, I’m dragging them and we’re all miserable. Today, however, we got out early enough that the boys and I could run free. I kept a fairly decent pace and only hit a rough patch in the middle and at the end. Still not great, but not terrible and there’s evidence of progress. Those are good things.

I came home to do a quick yoga video, eat some Rice Chex, and take a shower. Now, it’s 1:20 p.m. and I’m ready for a nap. That’s the thing about peaking early, there’s always a crash later. Thankfully, I have a couch, a snuggly blanket, and two dogs who are already snoring. I love Saturdays.

I also love long weekends. This is Memorial Day weekend, so I have an extra day off. It couldn’t have come at a better time. The weekends have been feeling so short the last few months. Here’s hoping the extra day will make all the difference.

It’s gotten to be a habit to post a song most Saturdays and, since I’ve been rediscovering my adolescent obsession with Nirvana, I’m sharing one of my all-time favorites. There was something life-changing about this Unplugged session. I was a teenager then and the songs were so incredible. I had forgotten how beautiful Kurt Cobain was then. His daughter is a teenager now and looks exactly like him. It’s spooky. At any rate, this version is even better than the David Bowie original, in my opinion.

Knee, grumble, grumble, old age, grumble, grumble

The view from the top of Hugo Peak.

I sit here in my chair, my leg propped up, a bag of melting ice resting on my knee. I am so sick of having a frozen knee. For my next injury, I hope it’s something treatable with heat. This ice thing is for the birds. Penguins, in fact.

In related news, I filled out my registration form for the Fourth of July run. It’s four miles and I really hope I don’t die. I’m not feeling especially confident this year. The running program is over and we’re still running three times a week, but I still feel slow and lumbering. I’m waiting for it to get easier. I don’t remember it being this hard before. This must be what old age feels like.

I think a new crow’s foot just popped out.

Grumble, grumble, grumble.

I keep forgetting to take the boys in to get their shots. They’re both due. Also, Barley really, really needs his teeth cleaned. He has to be knocked out for it, and it scares me with his liver problem to put him under anesthesia. But, his teeth are getting so bad. I’m worried he may lose one or two if I don’t get him in soon. Poor guy. He’ll be 11 next month. My crabby old man.

Besides his yucky teeth, he still acts like a pup most of the time. He still wrestles with Dougal, kicks both our butts on the trail, and grabs my pant leg and shakes it when he’s feeling cantankerous. He’s more aloof now, though. As a pup, he used to sleep on my back and follow me around the house. Now, he’s got better stuff to do. He’d rather be off on his own, snoozing in his bed where I can’t bother him every few minutes. Dougal is the one who wants constant affection now; Barley can take it or leave it. The price of getting older, I guess.

Grumble, grumble, grumble…

And so a blue period begins…

It’s only Monday and it already feels like a long week. That’s a bad sign. Damn depression.

It sneaks up on me sometimes. I could feel it coming on two weeks ago. There were subtle things. I ate popcorn for dinner every night because I couldn’t muster up the energy to cook anything. I kept missing my alarm in the morning and waking up a good 15-30 minutes late. I didn’t do the dishes for three days. Those are all signs I’m slipping. It didn’t help that I stopped taking my medication a month or so ago, thinking the gluten free diet had cured everything.

It didn’t. Damn depression.

At least in my old age, I’m more accepting of it. I don’t think it’s weakness anymore. I don’t feel ashamed of it. I don’t try to muscle my way through it, refusing medication and scaring myself when I can’t control horrible thoughts. I know the thoughts are a symptom and they’ll go away eventually, and I’ll have a few weeks or months of being just like everyone else.

Of course, right now, I’d settle for a Frosty.

By the power of Grayskull…

Earlier today, I was reminiscing about my brother’s He-Man action figures. He was obsessed with them. He even had a He-Man sleeping bag that he would sleep in on his bed, a He-Man backpack, and a He-Man lunch box. For a couple years, his whole world was He-Man. Consequently, a good bit of my world was He-Man, too.

We would imagine we were the cartoon characters. I would usually pretend to be the Sorceress or Evilyn. He always pretended to be He-Man. (Incidentally, my dad looked a little like Man-at-Arms back in the 80s.) Even though I preferred My Little Pony and Care Bears, playing He-Man was much more exciting. There were more opportunities to leap off stumps, roll in the dirt, and hit each other with things.

Thinking about the hours we spent watching He-Man cartoons (and the Masters of the Universe movie with a mulleted Dolph Lundgren and a very young Courtney Cox) got me thinking about some of the other cartoons that defined my childhood. Here are some of my favorites:

Danger Mouse. It’s British and brilliant. This is one of the few that stands the test of time. It’s so well done and creative, and the writing is smart and funny. I still watch episodes of Danger Mouse online. It’s perfect.

Captain Caveman. Looking back, this concept was ridiculous. Captain Caveman was freed from a block of ice by the Teen Angels, a gorgeous threesome of crime-fighting girls. He joins their team and plays a Scooby-Doo-type role, bungling their investigations and getting into trouble. Still, he did have a great yell.

Wuzzles. I was a sucker for bright colors and cute animals. The Wuzzles are both. My favorite (and still one of my treasured toys) is my Butterbear. She’s a butterfly and a bear mix and so beautiful. Yellow with pink wings. So darn cute!

The Raccoons. The evil character in this one, Cyril Sneer, used to freak me out more than Skeletor. I think it was his yellow teeth. It’s interesting to look back now and see the strong environmental message in this cartoon. Cyril Sneer is the evil developer threatening the forest. The raccoons are the heroes defending it. I love it!

What were some of your favorites?

A lovely sunny hike and a night with The Arch

A view from the top. Hugo Peak and my two best guys.

Thankfully, my plan to beat the rain Saturday paid off. We had a great run in the sunshine. Dougal chased birds. Barley ate his bodyweight in grass. I made it all the way up and down the mountain without dropping dead. And, we did it all without a single drop of rain. Four wins.

Significantly less of a win was the Desmond Tutu event the night before in Tacoma. Desmond Tutu himself was adorable. He was surprisingly funny, charming, and instantly likable. He’s a man who just needs to be hugged. He was incredible. However, the event surrounding his speech was definitely meant for a younger audience. It was essentially a rap concert with a few dance groups tossed in. I came to be inspired; I left with a headache.

I’d be curious to know how the teenagers in the audience reacted to the event, if they felt inspired to “be the spark” for social change or if they were simply excited to have a parent-approved night out with their friends and loud music. Tutu’s message seemed secondary to the entertainment, and that was disappointing for me. But, maybe I’m just showing my age. I had hoped to feel a new push to do something big in my small life. Instead, I just felt old, alone, and smaller than ever.

And, I just looked up to see Barley scooting his butt on the carpet. Fantastic. I think that’s my cue.

Making hay on a Saturday

I woke up to a beautiful morning of bright sunshine and warm temperatures; it’s almost 50 at my house right now, which seems balmy after days and days of chilly rain. Feeling a trail run on the immediate horizon, I rushed to the computer to check the forecast…only to find rain predicted every day through Wednesday. Including today.

Balls.

I love rain, but this is getting ridiculous. I’m heading out now to try and make good use of the few hours of sunshine we may be getting today. I’m also writing this as a reminder to myself to tell you all about seeing Archibishop Desmond Tutu last night in Tacoma. I don’t want to forget to write about it while it’s still fresh. I suspect I’ll have some rainy time later on today to get it all down. Until then, I’ll be staving off crippling vitamin D deficiency while I’m able.

Happy Saturday! Here’s some happy music to get you going this morning. I love this kid!

Day 31: A recent photo plus three good things

It's a butt. It's a puddle. It's a butt puddle.

The blog challenge is officially over. I didn’t exactly follow all the rules, but it was fun to get in the habit of writing, even if I didn’t feel going in that I had much to say. I’m really boring most of the time and I think that was holding me back from writing on a more consistent basis. This challenge has proven that my daily adventures need not be on a grand scale to be interesting. Relatively interesting, anyway.

From here out, I’m hoping to blog at least three times a week, even if it’s just to tell you about a stupid dream or a terrible recipe I made. (You should have seen the chicken salad I made Tuesday night. Yikes!)

So, as my final challenge, here are three good things that happened in the last 31 days:

• Amy and I stuck with our running program in spite of rain, wind, mud, and potential bum incidents. Tomorrow is the last run of the 8-week program. Even though I know we’re continuing beyond the eight weeks, I’m looking forward to tomorrow.

• It’s gotten light enough in the early mornings that I can walk the boys much farther from home. We’re no longer stuck circling our immediate neighborhood over and over for 45 minutes to an hour every day. The change of pace has done us all good. We’re walking faster, farther, and with less boredom.

• My mom sent me a box of old pictures, school papers, yearbooks, and miscellaneous stuff (including my Mickey Mouse ears from 1985). While I had an emotional meltdown going through it all, it was nice to see the family so happy and together. It reminded me of those times.

Until…whenever….

Day 30: In dreams of Mrs. Huxtable

Last night, I dreamed that before my wedding, which was strangely taking place on a circus lot, I stopped to talk to Felicia Rashad, who was relaxing on the stairs outside one of those vintage ringmaster’s cars. She was picking her teeth with a piece of straw when she stopped to ask me what was wrong. I can’t remember what I said, but she told me not to get married. So, I turned and ran from the circus, carrying away armloads of crinkly dress with me.

It was a very strange dream.

But, it set the tone for what was a relatively strange Tuesday. Here’s my proof:

• A two-headed baby was born in China.

• A man jumped off the world’s tallest building, Burj Khalifa in Dubai. He jumped from the 147th floor (of 160 total) and landed on a deck on the 108th floor.  The shocking part of this story is that this man’s death is the first suicide since the building opened in January 2010. It’s morbid to say this, but is anyone else shocked that it took this long? The Golden Gate Bridge was open just three months before a man jumped off in 1937. Fifteen suicide-free months sounds like good news, and that’s strange.

• Maria Shriver and Arnold Schwarzenegger are separating after 25 years of marriage. It’s a real bummer. This one came out of nowhere. Sort of like Al and Tipper Gore…only without the alleged assaults on “massage therapists.” I hope. Very strange. I wonder what Felicia Rashad would say about this.

Until tomorrow…

Day 29: A worrisome tale of vegetable excess

Broccoli and cauliflower were 88 cents per pound at Safeway over the weekend and, being the frugal gal I am, I stocked up, fully knowing at the time of purchase that I had almost an entire head of cauliflower still taunting me from my crisper. It didn’t sink into my veggie loving brain until I got home and faced the abundance of cauliflower that I realized I may have purchased a bit too much.

Let’s fast forward to tonight when I put the remainder of last week’s cauliflower into the steamer bag (those are miraculous, by the way) and had to shake it to get it closed. Not a good sign. “It will shrink when it cooks,” I lied to myself, trying to justify why in blazes I bought so much darn cauliflower.

I don’t even like cauliflower. It’s a pathetic, anemic-looking vegetable whose only good quality is that it gives me gas. I only eat it because I’m a grownup now and that’s what grownups do. They worry about crow’s feet and they eat disgusting vegetables.

At the end of four minutes in the microwave, I dumped my steamer bag onto my plate, which then had about 4 ounces of chicken and a solid 10-12 ounces of translucent, tasteless cauliflower. That’s a chicken:cauliflower ration of 1:3. Unacceptable.

Still, I ate it. All of it. Every darn piece. (Incidentally, what is it about cauliflower that it goes from burning hot to ice cold in about 20 seconds? The only thing worse than hot cauliflower is cold cauliflower, and I ate my fill of it tonight.) I feel emotionally drained, intestinally bloated, and my burps have a distinct caulifloweriness that is distasteful and offensive. I may never recover.

A whole post dedicated to overconsumption of cauliflower? My intestinal lows have a tendency to become blog highs. Needless to say, I’m not exactly following the blog challenge rules right now. The cauliflower makes its own rules.

Until tomorrow…

Day 28: Favorite movies

There are so many great movies, some of which I’ve seen so many times, I can recite whole chunks of dialogue. The list below is nowhere near comprehensive; I’m sure to think of a dozen more in the days following as my brain churns through more favorites. But, here’s a good start:

• Big Fish. This movie is so darn romantic and magical, I can ignore Ewan McGregor’s horrible southern accent. The message is such a good one. Live big.

• How to Marry a Millionaire. Another cute one, only this time with gorgeous dresses and Betty Grable falling for a handsome park ranger. Also, Marilyn Monroe with killer glasses!

• Labyrinth. An oldie, but a goodie. It’s a perfect rainy day movie.

• No Country For Old Men. It’s a gut-wrencher. I couldn’t stop thinking about it for weeks after. I think it rooted into my soul. Speaking of which…

• There Will Be Blood. If ever I get nostalgic for early America, this is the cure.

• Clue. I love, love, love this movie. It never gets old. I love Mrs. White (Madeline Kahn).

• The Big Lebowski. A duh choice. Who doesn’t love this movie?

• You’ve Got Mail. It’s a cheeseball movie, but I’ve seen it a million times and I still cry at the end. Every time. A winner.

• Cyrano de Bergerac. My favorite is the French version with Gerard Depardieu. It’s so well done and so beautiful to watch, it makes me want to go back to French class.

• Mean Girls. The writing is really good and the jokes are funny. Plus, at the heart of us all, we’re still like that sometimes.

• 300. A guilty pleasure, certainly, but this…is…SPARTAAAAA!

• Rushmore. I talked about this a week or so ago, but it’s such a good movie. The writing is brilliant. I wish life were really like this.

• The Omen. The original version is the best. It’s so darn scary and it makes me feel better about not having kids.

• Rosemary’s Baby. Since I’m on to horror movies now, this one is another of my favorites, mostly because of my huge crush on Mia Farrow. I love her so much. She’s delicate and beautiful, especially when she’s binge eating raw liver in her kitchen. Agh! (Can you believe she married Frank Sinatra? So weird!)

• Splendor in the Grass. If you haven’t seen this one, it’s a must. Yeah, it’s a bit old now, but, for those of us who have only known Warren Beatty as old and crusty, and Natalie Wood as dead, it’s a good reminder of why they are such legends. They were teenagers in this movie and both are amazing. It’s a fantastic story, especially if you’ve ever been passionately in love. It’s a love you only feel when you’re young. Great movie.

Wow, I hit 15. Not bad for a first try.

Until tomorrow…