NEXT EVENTS: IRONMAN BOULDER 2014, Run Rabbit Run 50-miler

It's never too late to be what you might have been. --George Eliot

This blog is about my journey as an asthmatic, hypothyroid, formerly plus-sized endurance athlete. It's occasionally interrupted with things that have nothing to do with that or whining about my weight and horrible eating habits. "You're never too old to be what you might have been" --George Eliot

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Double #1 Weekend Agenda

Friday April 29th Leave Q town at 6:50 a.m., arrive arrive in Nashville.  Pick up rental car. Check into hotel near the airport. Hit packet pickup for Country Music marathon. Relax in hotel. Eat - say it with me now - 
Pasta. In a Bread Bowl.

Saturday April 30th Get up at the crack of oh, my, god to get dressed and body-glided up and head for the marathon that starts at 7:00 a.m. Baboo and I are in separate starting corrals. He's in corral number 3, I think. My starting corral is somewhere in Kentucky. I'll be wearing a snazzy little SkirtSports pink ensem, with a pink and white hat, and bright blue compression leg sleeves. Remember: if you can't be fast, be cute.
Run the marathon, conservatively, under 5:30.

It will hit 80 degrees during the day. I'm thinking I may actually throw aside being conservative and just haul ass to be done before it gets too hot.  

Depart Nashville right after the race and drive to Cincinnati, and head directly to Packet Pickup for the Flying Pig Marathon.  Check in to the hotel after packet pickup. This is where I test a theory: I'll head for the hotel pool (I hope it's not full of noisy kids) with my flippers on, and kick around the pool for about a half hour to loosen up my legs in the cool water. Eat. Eat a lot. Sleep. Sleep a lot.

Sunday May 1st the Flying Pig Marathon starts at 6:30 a.m.  Out hotel is less than a mile from the start so we'll walk.  
I will be wearing a sporty bright yellow "MarathonManiacs" singlet, black running shorts, and bright green leg compression sleeves.

Try to run the second marathon in--well, hell, just try to run it.

It is supposed to rain - 70% chance. After the Marathon, head for "Skyliner Chile" or some such place, where we will eat. Eat a lot. Then we'll drive back to Nashville and sleep. Sleep a lot.  

Monday, May 2.  Out flight departs Nashville at 6:10 a.m. and we'll arrive in Albuquerque at 9:45 a.m. Brian will have all day to rest. 
I will go to work at noon, because I forgot to request the day off. This is not a mistake I will repeat.

Okay. Ready?

Here we go...
...


Wednesday, April 27, 2011

My To-Do List, Long-neglected, awaits me. Thursday 13.

Dear Diary,

13. ENDINGS.  I have a pile of things that have been growing for the past few years. All these things have been sitting in a growing series of piles that are waiting, just waiting, for me to be done with school so that I can read books *I* want to read, just like a grown-up.   Afternoons filled with puttering.  Puttering.  That's right, just hanging out, enjoying my house, not trying to desperately catch up on sleep and homework assignments.

12. READING. There is an impressive pile of books and magazines I have bought but haven't read, ranging from learning to speak Spanish to Radical Acceptance.  Most of the magazines are badly out of date now.  I don't care.  I'm going to read them anyway.

11. SOCIALIZE.   I gave up trying to keep up with people's blogs.  It seems terrible that I continue to blather on and on in this one and not read anyone else's.  Truth be told, I just don't have time.  I only do this because it's therapeutic.  After this semester, I'll be able to start commenting again.

10.  CROSS-TRAINING.  I have Tony Horton's P90X program in a box, waiting for me.  I have a doorway chinup bar.  And, there is the exercise room that continues to be full of crap, because I haven't had time to take pictures of the large computer hutch and post it on Craig's list, which will open up a huge space.  And so on.  Also, close to our house is the Air Force base, which I now have access to, including it's nice big 50 meter lap pool.

9.  MENDING.  I have a pile of clothes that need mending and altering, either by me or Mr. Linn...belts that are too long, and a purse that I love but the cats got hold of that I've been meaning to take to the leather genie over on Menaul.

8.  HONEY DO.  There are various things around the house that need tending too--that that sprinkler system siphon valve that I am convinced I can replace myself.  Oh, yes I can.  You think I can't?  I am, actually, quite handy.  When I have time.  But for the past few years, I have chosen to try to work on sprinklers right when they are going off, when I'm dressed for work, only to swear and scream loudly enough for my neighbors to emerge to see what's going on, and ending with me going inside in a huff to change my soaked clothes and dry my hair.

7.  TRAINING!  I actually had to stage my own self-intervention the other night. I was practically hyperventillating at how little training I had done, and how much I was going to suffer, how fat I was probably getting, and how humiliated I would be.  Then I did the whole "what is the evidence for...what is the evidence against...what is the rational thought replacement" and came up with the following:

  • I might have lost some fitness.  I will get it back.
  • I might not be as fast as I wanted to be at my marathons, but I bet I'll finish them, because I've done far more with less fitness.  No guts, no glory.
  • I can always use the galloway method.
  • Soon, very soon, I will have glorious morning runs because I will actually GET TO SLEEP ON TIME THE NIGHT BEFORE.  Why?  Because I won't have consumed massive amounts of caffeine to get through my night classes.  
6.  STRESS.  I has it.  One of the things that is stressing me out is having a grown woman in the house who acts like a 16 year old, complete with the sense of entitlement.   She takes and uses other people's things and gets sulky when you bring it up.  She sleeps in until noon.  Who does that?  Sweet Baboo came home one day last week to get something he needed and it was after noon, and she was still asleep.
I think the last time I slept past noon was when I had food poisoning, about two decades ago.
I'm going to bank her first two paychecks until she has two months' rent and a deposit saved up.  Then she gets launched.  Like a rocket.  with a pamphlet to the local women's shelter.  Just in case.

5. CYCLING.  I've never told the whole story of why I don't cycle any more.  I feel trapped on a bike. My ass hurts.  My feet go numb.  My trapesis muscles tighten up until I get neck cramps and can't turn my head.
I'd still like to do the occasional spring or even olympic distance triathlon, though.  They're fun.
So when Courtney asked me if I wanted to ride bikes with her, by climbing Tramway.  This is a 800 foot descent over 5 miles, and then climb back up over 5 miles, and I wondered if all my running would transfer to cycling, at least for short distances.
I climbed Tramway faster than I've ever climbed it.  My quads didn't hurt, probably because I do all the downhill running that Sweet Baboo has me do.
I feel pretty good about that.  I can do the occasional short distance tri and don't have to spend time training on a bike.  YAY for easy short cuts.

4.  DONE.  What I'm trying to say here, is that I'm done. I turned in my last paper.  Did you read that?
I
Turned
In
My 
Last 
Paper.

and
attended
my
last
class.

I have one final exam next week, which I'm totally not worried about.  How not worried am I?  I put my books up for sale three weeks ago.  

3.  I celebrated my finish with brie, crackers, wine, and Greek Yogurt.  Hey, you celebrate your way, and I'll celebrate mine.  

2.  I work with a bunch of twenty-somethings.  Seriously.  And I feel the generation gap, oh yes, I do. Yesterday I was leaving work, and announced I was leaving, and I got the chin bump and Peace out, Misty.  
I was like, uh, yeah.  Um, bye, see you guys tomorrow.  I lack the requisite coolness to chin bump someone and say, Peace Out.  It doesn't come naturally to me. 

1.  RUNNING.  I finally get to run again.  Just in time for my four marathons in 10 days.  Ulp.  Tomorrow, I'm on a jet plane on my way to Nashville for a weekend of pain, humiliation, and oh yeah, marathons.  I at least will be able to relax, knowing all my classwork is done, and that I'm done with my coursework.  
Since my training was sacrificed in most part for work and assignments, I'll be using the Galloway method for my marathons.  My goal will be to do all of them in under 5:30 each.  I want to try to be conservative, especially for the first two, so I don't completely tear up my legs.
So I'll be slow, but I'm taking the SkirtSports with me, so at least I'll be cute.  

....

It's Wednesday, and I smell like gas.

Dear Diary,

There are apparently a lot of bad karma nuggets floating around out there this morning and it all landed on me. I didn't hear it land on me. I imagine that if I had, it would have sounded wet and heavy. Like shit.

I left the house this morning at 7:20ish, plenty of time to get to work. I waved at my neighbor who was outside watering her lawn.  I knew I had to get gas. It was impossibly cold and windy, so I was already not looking forward to that. When the light turned green, I realized I'd left my wallet (and gas card) at home, so I hung a U and went back to get it. As I tend to scatter things around my home, it was not easy to find. But I did find it. 

Sweet Baboo, meanwhile, had alrady given me his gas card because he knows that quite often, things just disappear and he loves me enough to not allow me to stomp around the house swearing and accusing the dog and cats of hiding my stuff. 

As I left the house again, I turned the corner and waved for the second time to my neighbor who was still outside, watering. She waved back, puzzled look on her face. Then the cup of mountain dew/cranberry juice in my cup holder sloshed and spilled into my cup holders.  I rolled down the window to pour a bit out, but then I hit a bump and it all went out. Dammit. There goes my morning caffeine. I needed to hurry.  I had a client coming in first thing, so I could not linger. 

Okay.  I know that there is a Starbucks on the way to the gas station, with a drive-through.  I headed back down to the gas station. On the way there, I realized I'd forgotten my lunch - left the Lean Cuisine boxes sitting right on the counter. I debated weather or not to go get them, and decided that I would decide at the gas station. Meanwhile, I was already racking up some self-pity, so I took a coupon out to go to Starbucks, and got myself a caramel macchiato.

As I pulled away from the drive through I heard the loud and unmistakable sound of my car's body molding scraping the curb. Dammit. I used napkins from my glove box to soak up all the spilled mountain dew in my cup holder and threw them away in the trashcan that, thankfully, Starbucks always seems to have next to their drive-through.

At least I had my caffeine! I headed down to the gas station, and sat inside my car while the gas went into the tank, sipping my coffee. I head a loud click signalling that the nozzle had finished, but apparently this wasn't my gas pump that made that noise, because when I pulled out the nozzle, a lot of gas spewed out - not on me, thank goodness, but you know how the smell of gas is. It gets into your body and clothes and doesn't let go. I can still smell it now, an hour later, sitting at my desk.

SO. I left the gas station and, smelling strongly of gasoline, decided that I did indeed want my Lean Cuisine, and so drove home to get my lunch.  I drove home, car windows down to try to air myself out, heat blasting because it's so damned cold outside. I got home, grabbed my lunch, headed out, waved at my neighbor AGAIN who by now must think I'm completely insane.  I tried reminding myself of the good things, at least I have a gas card, at least I have lunch, at least I have a car, at least I have a job, and it's not that I've ever not had those things, mostly, but there were times in the past that my grasp on them was tenuous, at best.

I drove to work like a crazy woman, quickly and aggressively to get there early enough to get settled, and so as not to miss my first appointment.

Who did not show up.

...

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Eventually, if you wade through enough of it, you stop noticing the smell. (Thursday 13, the early edition)

Dear Diary,

13.  I mentioned last week that I had been in school continuously for 20 years, and a couple people commented to me on it. Yes, it's true.  I am that pathetic.  But part of the cure is admitting you have a problem, and I do: I am addicted to finisher's prizes.  At least now they are less expensive and help get rid of stress instead of causing it.
Meanwhile,

I can feel myself wearing down, and just in time, too.  I'm actually doing better than last year, when I was worn down by February.  I'm tired, depressed, anxious, and having bad dreams that involve rejection and abandonment.  I am, finally, and predictably, getting Too Old For This Shit.

I know it's just the whole grad school thing. I know it, but I can't feel it.  I just want to lay on a couch all day and do nothing.  I don't want to go anywhere, run, or write a paper, or make a phone call, or clean, or arrange.  Just lay.  And maybe drink cool, icy things. Which may, or may not, have ETOH in them.

12.  Saturday, I was bitterly disappointed to find out that Sweet Baboo got an email saying he'd been selected in the lottery for the La Luz Trail Run, and I had not.

Then.  A friend messaged me later to tell me my name is on the list, here:   http://ultrasignup.com/entrants_event.aspx?did=12328

So, I will begin training for this May 25th.  I'll still have a 50K to do in June, but other than that, I'm winding down for about a year of shorter distances and speedwork.  I'll still be running 5 days a week, but for much shorter distances.  I'll probably be keeping a 50K training plan recycling throughout the 2011-2012 school year while I'm interning.  My goal: Sub 2 hour.  Which, if you recall the profile, is quite ambitious.


11.  Saturday I ran a local half marathon while Baboo ran a 10K.   I had to run 15 miles Saturday, per Coach Baboo, and this seemed like a good way to do most of that, so he signed me up.  We like to support local races whenever we can, for reasons I'll mention in a bit.

It was beautiful, cool and just a bit breezy, and other than the smell of horses, the run through Albuquerque's North Valley area was lovely.  We ran past vineyards and farms and over acequias, and YES ALBUQUERQUE HAS THOSE THINGS, RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE OF THE TOWN AND THAT'S WHY I LOVE IT SO and underneath old, old cottonwood trees that arched high overhead, providing shade.

We finished at a local elementary school. It was one of those lovely local races where you get to see people doing their very first race of some distance, and their friends and families hold signs and cheer wildly for them.  I think everyone, no matter what distance they wind up doing, should support local races.  It's incredibly inspiring to see people doing their very first anything, whether it's a half marathon, 10K, or 5K.


10.  Sweet Baboo also did a race at the same time; he did the 10K.  It was on the same route except that halfway through they turned into another direction.  His race started 15 minutes after mine and so, predictably just before his mile 4, he blew by me at what seemed to be a dead sprint.

Trust me, it was startling to see him running that fast - he was running faster than others around him but was much larger (Remember, he's 195 lbs and 6' tall). He is qualifying for a military running team by running a 44-minute 10K.  I can't even imagine being that fast--I'm still trying to break an hour on my 10K time.
My time for the half-marathon was 2:16 and some seconds, by the way.  I was holding my own the first 7 miles, but then I started fading. Next time, I need more water.  And faster legs.

9. This past weekend I had my last big weekend.  The marathon Saturday was followed on Sunday by...nothing.  My legs hurt, especially the upper part of my quads.  So, I rounded out a 36-mile week.  Yes, it does still freak me out to see that written, even when I write it. I can still remember the first time I freaked out of a "5 mile slow jog".  It was supposed to be more, but I'm having trouble with energy.

8.  Last Friday a kid ran by my office, closely followed by people talking into radios.  They tend not to run, as there's not a whole lot of places where he can go, so they run in a loop.  When he ran by again they were further behind.  He stopped and threw a small rock at me, hitting me squarely in the right side of my $5 reading glasses.  Good thing I had them on.  I'm imagining his treatment review:

The client's strengths include good hand-eye coordination. 

Because, you know, it's all about focusing on strengths.   

7.  A woman asked me recently how I lost weight.  What could I say?  No, it wasn't easy.  No, I sometimes will think about chocolate cake. The woman, who is large for her height, said that she just couldn't see depriving herself.  Yes, it's true, I do deprive myself at times.  But I know the following is true:
  • In life there are choices.  I made mine.
  • There will always be chocolate cake.  I choose when and how to have a taste.  
  • Chances are, the craving will pass.  It always does. 
6.  "Ever wish vegetables didn't taste so vegetal-y"?  Says the V8 splash commercial.  Uh, well, no.  I like it that vegetables taste vegetable-y, just like I like that potatoes taste potato-y, and chicken tastes chicken-y.  If I want something that tastes Fruit-y, I'll eat fruit.  Thanks.

5.  Last Thursday I woke up at 3 am.  No idea why, but I couldn't get back to sleep.  I lay there for an hour or so, and then went out in the dark and ran 4 miles.  During my run, several cars stopped at stop signs, and even though it was dark, they saw me.  Because they, you know, STOPPED.  at the STOP SIGN.
But not this guy.  No, the guy in the old geep grand cherokee blew the stop sign, and then slowed somewhat for just a second when he saw me.  Then he went ahead and turned in front of me.  I smacked his car with my open palm.  yes, he was so close that I could simply lift my hand and do that.  I didn't reach.  He blew his horn at me.  Baby.


Then, for some reason I cannot fathom, he drove up the street, turned around, and drove up alongside me to give me a lecture.  Now, I really wanted to say, you blew the stop sign.  Now go blow yourself.


But because of my new year's resolution, *I* am a calm person in charge of her faculties.  So I waved as I ran while he rolled alongside me, and I called out repeately, Have a nice day!  Have a nice day!  Finally he gave up and yelled "dumbass" and drove away.  Ooo. Ouch.

That was fun.  If all I have to do to piss people off is be nice to them when they are steaming mad, then there you go.  Win-win.

WHAT is up with people like that?  Seriously.  If you go to the trouble of turning your car around to follow someone on foot and tell them how they should behave, how sad is your life?  

4.    Thursday, I blew off my afternoon run.  I hadn't seen my doggie all week in the sunlight.  I was tired as hell.  I also wanted to make a special meal for my daughter to celebrate the fact that SHE GOT A JOB, YES, THAT'S RIGHT I got the internship.  I won't tell you what we ate.  It was a bit of hedonism.  Okay, I'll tell: it was a couple of bacon-wrapped fillets from the local commissary.

At one point, she looked at them and reported that her father (who I haven't been married to for two decades) told her that these were too small, and that he could eat several of them.  Well, of course he could.  Most of us could.  That's not the point.  Yeah, no shit.  But I have tried to teach my daughter two important rules in life, and one of them is: Just because you can eat all of it doesn't mean you need to do so.  Anyway. We had the tiny fillets, and I talked to her about eating it slowly and enjoying each bite, because when you do that, you don't need more food.  We also had steamed vegetables and baked sweet-potato fries.

3.  Oh, by the way, the other rule I've tried to teach her is: Just because you can get it on doesn't mean it fits. Words to live by.  They should be posted, like, EVERYWHERE.

2.  I met some kids this week that, frankly, reminded me of how awesome I have it.  That's it.  That's all you're getting.  HIPAA, you know.  Okay, so I'm a bleeding heart.  Bite me.  Seriously, what do you expect from someone in my line of work?  I don't know too many Social Workers that AREN'T bleeding hearts
But.  I'm a bleeding heart whose politics are based on evidence, not the "energy" I feel.  Not the "gut feeling".  Evidence.

1.  What I am about to tell you will make you hate me.  A while back SweetFace came for dinner and was playing with his new iPad. As he is my son, SweetFace is a serious tecchie gear whore.  I tell you, I was smitten.  I have absolutely no reason to buy one of these things; I mean, I've finished all my coursework DID YOU READ THAT, HAVE I MENTIONED THAT I'M FINISHED WITH ALL MY COURSEWORK, but I jokingly said to SweetFace, you should give your dear old mother this for mother's day.

"Why should I do that?"

Because they wouldn't give me any drugs and you were nearly 9 pounds.  

We laughed.

Then, a couple weeks later, Daughter joked with him about getting me one.  He pondered that for a while, and then said, "I think I will."

Why?

Well, it turns out that as a teenager back in '02, SweetFace wanted a particular motherboard of mine, so unbeknownst to me he swapped it out with another motherboard that had a lesser processor.  It was off a PC that I wasn't using at the time, and I don't remember it, so I must not have been aware of it. (Sign of a true nerd, by the way.  He didn't break into my room to steal money or prescription pills, no, he took a motherboard.)

It furthermore turns out that himself the SweetFace has a low threshold of guilt tolerance. As well, he wants a new 2G ipad and only by giving me his 3-month-old 1G iPad can he justify that.
I, of course, am torn.
  • Do I be the "good mother" and say, "don't spend all that money on me?" or 
  • Do I acknowledge that yes, he was a pain in the ass teenager and so I'm totally entitled to cool stuff, being as I raised him alone most of his life? or
  • Do I simply allow him to assuage his guilt by accepting a very expensive (and very cool) trinket?  
The tie-breaker, of course, is that it's INCREDIBLY COOL AND I WANT ONE.  

So, in addition to the new Garmin 310XT that Baboo brought me, guess what else I'm getting for mother's day? :)  Yeah, I know.  You hate me.  Go have some kids of your own and instill work ethic and low guilt thresholds.  It will take about 20 years, but it's totally worth it.
...

[soon to be sent from my iPad. if there's an app for that.] 

.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

And in this corner...graduate school.

Dear Diary,

13.  So this past weekend, I ran 17 miles (half what I was supposed to run), but also cleaned out my closet, got my car cleaned and detailed, and made serious headway on my assignments.  I took my daughter out to eat.  I taught her how to play Sudoku.  Sweet Baboo was gone, so I had to keep busy.

12.  Monday, I took a huge load of clothes - eleven items - to the dry cleaner, and then took another armload to Goodwill.  I did not run.

11.  Also, on Tuesday, one of my references for the Internship notified me that they'd been called.   Tuesday was also the day I got my butt up at 5 am and went for a short run.  I decided that I will not run unless I get it out of the way early.  When I say "get it out of the way" don't assume that it's a chore, it's not.  Running at dawn is my joy.  It's quiet.  I don't wait for cars.  I. Feel. Awesome, for the rest of the day.  I take off in dark, and it's just before sunrise over the mountains when I finish.

10.  Wednesday, the daughter project took an unexpected leap forward when she was called to an interview.   I did not run.


9.  I'm so over this semester.  It's like, whatever.  Grade me, don't grade me.  I don't give a shit. Last night, I did my last role play.  EVER.  This will be the last time that I sit with another student and do a therapy role-play scenario.  Buwahaha.  FOREVER.


8.  OMG, I just realized.  I'm running the first of my four marathons in less than 3 weeks.  I have not been able to keep up with my training.  This is going to hurt.


7.  Sweet Baboo, as I mentioned, was gone this week.  It used to be that when this happened I would stay up too late, fall asleep in front of the TV, drink too much wine, and do too much online shopping. Now I've substituted cleaning and arranging for all that.  But I'm still waiting for him to come back.

6.  I went over to a grocery store to celebrate the good stuff.  I picked out a bottle of wine, and some chow, some cake, and then attempted to buy. I realized I didn't have my wallet with me, so I grabbed a spare license that I keep in my car.
The kid who checked me out, who was barely above 21 himself, informed me that my license was expired.  (Yes, he carded me.)  And that he could not sell me wine.
Are you kidding me?  Fine.  I don't need your stupid wine.  In fact, I don't even need this food.  It was all an impulse, anyway.  (More on this later).
I do not, by the way, have any illusion that I look like I'm under 21.  I think he was being just a pain in the ass.
So, I went home and had some fish.  And ice water.  And I was just fine.


I would actually like to have
this on a bumper sticker.
5.   I'm not saying I don't occasionally eat a lot of crap.  I'm just making an observation.  So, when I'm at some thing at work where there is a potluck, and they say, "okay, everybody eat," I find myself stepping out the way so that I don't get trampled.  I find myself, too, standing next to the exact same people each time.  These are also people who are into fitness and working out, and we make small talk as we watch everyone jostle for space in line.  It's another odd club that I've become a member of: the club of people who have decided that work food, especially potluck food, tends not to be health food.  These are the same people with which I will split a bagel, or a donut, during meetings.  Do I want the whole donut, or three or four?  Hell yes I do. But I also remember how bad I look in stretch pants.


4.  One thing I've been working on this year, along with other impulse issues, is binging, believe it or not.  I used to have  problem with impulsive spending, but started working on that by telling myself, "there will always be enough...there will always be deals, I don't have to have this now."  Now I'm working on the same with food: there will always be enough to eat. There will always be things that taste good.  But as I observe others, it occurs to me that maybe there are others, besides me, who see good food and must have it now, now, now.  

They stand in line, and I immediately recognize what they are doing: looking anxiously back and forth between the number of people in front of them and that one dish that they want some of, gauging whether there will be any left when they get their turn.  I know, because I've done it.
C'mon.  You know that, along with m, you' had those ugly, ugly thoughts: you better take just a small helping of those sour cream chicken enchiladas, bitch, or I'll slash your tires.  


3.  All I have left for coursework for my MSW is the following: one family film assignment, where I watch a film (I chose "Parenthood") and then write a paper about how I would approach working with the family from a particular theoretical orientation; one clinical supervision plan, a paper outlining a proposal for a group for my Group Therapy class, a 30 minute presentation where I treat the class as a group therapy class and work them using some sort of intervention, and then the final exam for one class.  That's it. It sounds like a lot but I've already started on most of these and/or done a lot of thinking.  The next two weekends will be spent working on these so that by the time the marathons roll around, I am done and relaxed and getting lots of sleep.
Of course, there is absolutely no reason for anyone to give a shit about any of this. I'm mostly thinking on paper.

2. But I will also say this: I see and end. I can actually now see a place on my calendar, when I'm looking at a multiple week view, when all the entries for assignments, classes, etc., abruptly stop, and there's just space there . That's what I'm looking forward to: space.

I've been in school a ridiculous amount of time.  I started my Bachelor's degree in 1991 and after I finished, professors convinced me to get my masters, so I did. Then they convinced me to work on my PhD, so I moved to another university and started that. Then I decided that I didn't want that PhD and moved in wiht Baboo and started teaching.  THEN, I decided to start another PhD program. I didn't like that either, so I got another master's degree.  And then I decided to get another one after that.

Thankfully, the finish lines I'm pursuing now are cheaper and less stressful.  No more degrees for me, I'm done.  Since I've been in school continuously since 1991, I'm not sure what that's like.

Of course, only my coursework is done.  I have 9 months of internship to do.

Which brings be back to the internship at the VA that I applied for.


1.  I mentioned that I was applying for an internship at the VA.  This was a source of anxiety for me because well, stupidly, it was the only one I applied for, and it was highly competitive.  It is one of the few that provides a stipend, but that's not why I wanted it: I want to work for the VA some day.

I like working with people, all kinds of people, and I believe in the mission of the VA.  I spent 10 months there in 2008-2009 working for a contractor, and loved the campus here. The atmosphere is relaxed but professional, and the VA has a lot of different areas for a social worker to work in, and they are highly structured, which I love.  They provide good support for continuing education for their clinical staff.

They also use only researched, evidence-based methods of working with people, and that's a good fit for me, as Albuquerque has it's fair share of flaky counselors social workers who truly believe that rules, ethics, and theoretical orientation don't matter as long as you have good intentions. And, of course, a very big wad of icing on that cake is that it is a steady job, with good benefits.

An internship there gives me the chance to get my face in front of people, so that some day when there is an opening and I apply for it, somebody says, I remember her as an intern. She was reasonably competent, and didn't start any fires.  We should hire her. 

Oh, but did I mention?  They called me yesterday, and offered me the internship.

...

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Scraps of fabric and thread and their meaning.

Dear Diary,

I'm sitting on my bed typing this because surprisingly, it is 30 degrees out.  I had decided I was going to suck it up and try to get in 30 miles today, because Sweet Baboo is at a medical conference in Washington, where there also happened to be a 50K.  He is doing it this morning and so, well, am I--but here at home.  I'm sure he'll be finished long before I will, given my penchent for taking time-outs, sitting in the shade at gas stations and sipping cold coca-cola.  Oh, and he's faster than I am.  Chances are, that wind and cold is going to do me long long before 30 miles is reached.

So. But.  Anyway.

Last night Dread Pirate came over and we "shopped" my closet.

For the uninformed, this consisted of DP going through my clothing murmering any and all of the following:
EW. Weekend only.
Oh my God, this looks terrible.  Why won't you dry clean?  
You have a lot of mock turtle necks.  Is there any reason for that?
I'm expecting to find--oh yes, here it is *shudders*: the Christmas sweater.
Your closet is full of Burqas.  You know that, right?  
This would look so hot on you!  Why is it stuffed in the back of your closet?
What is it with you and the spinster-school-marm look?

When you're big and middle-aged, or maybe just middle-aged, or maybe just big, you often adopt a "I'll cover it up and then I won't have to think about it" attitude towards your body.  The skirts go to the floor. The tops go to the knees.  You tell yourself, this skirt that drops straight to my feet is very slimming, and will hide the extra pounds.  

You convince yourself that the tunics will make you look just like the size 00 models who were wearing them in the catalogue, and that the item of clothing with the "secret slimming panel" actually does what it says, and this pattern is very slimming, (says the saleslady.  And why would she lie?)  Life becomes a quest for clothing that is slimming, and failing that, just covers it all the hell up.

Of course, I had my own defenses set up as Pirate handed items to the daughter to add to the ever-growing pile on the bed
  • I can't rid of that.  I paid a lot of money for it.
  • I can't throw that out - it was a gift.
  • That was on sale.  It was a terrific deal.
  • Hey, I like that piece.  (To which she would counter, when do you wear it? and I would have to say, it's too big.  i can't wear it.
Often, I would get incredulous looks from Pirate  when I said, "I can still wear that."
Do you have any idea what size you are now?

that 70s child.  I'm on the right.
I've never really thought about clothing all that much until the last decade.  Well, sorta.  As a child, I was a huge tomboy, and didn't really care much what I wore, as long as I didn't look like a dumb old girl.  It wouldn't have mattered anyway, because by the time I did care, I had a slightly miserly father who refused to buy clothing for me.  I was given perfunctory clothing for my birthday, and for Christmas, and there were back-to-school shopping trips to provide the necessary blue-jeans, shoes, and underwear.

I could have bought some of the "in" clothes with money from my jobs, but I was also required to provide my own gas, cigarettes (don't go there) and insurance, so there wasn't much left for clothes.  I just wasn't all that invested, to be truthful.  I adopted an I-don't-care-attitude  toward clothing.  When my children were little, like a lot of moms, I lived in sweat shirts and jeans.

When I finished graduate school, I started working on a professional wardrobe, but my weight bounced between a 12 and a size 16 continuously, so it was hard to maintain, and I fell also into the role of a schoolteacher, and wore long dresses with high necklines.  I graduated from high school a size M, usually between a 6 and an 8, and after my first pregnancy, I never saw those numbers again except for a brief few months in 2000 when I got down to a size 8 by hiking and starving myself.  I couldn't maintain it.  I bounced back up to my adult weight: size 12 to 16.

Last year in April I dropped to a size 8, and then this past February, a size 6, although that depends on my level of hydration and time of month.  I've comfortably maintained this for nearly a year. I don't feel starved.

My picture of my adult self is permanently stuck at size 12 or 14, so when I see clothes that size, I figure they will fit me.  I still do.  When I look in the mirror, my filter sees me at that 12-14 size, usually an L and sometimes an XL.  

Also, truthfully, I had to admit to myself that I'm afraid to get rid of the bigger clothes, because what if I get bigger again?  What would I wear?  So yes, for all these reasons, I often protested even as the clothing was going onto one of the growing piles on the bed.

I have to remind myself that there will always be clothes.  Also, clothing should be an adornment, not just a cover-up.  It should show who am I am, and how I feel about myself.  And right now, despite all my kvetching, I feel smart, fast, accomplished--my clothes should reflect that, right?  And slim.  I have to keep saying that to myself: I am slim. 

I do not need to cover it the hell up.  I don't dress quite as floridly as Dread Pirate; she is a walking party and celebration of fashion, and it reflects her personality.  My work requires that I be a bit more conservative, and perhaps because of a lot of life experiences, I just am.   I like Clark shoes, and Born heels, because I can walk briskly in them. I take long strides, so stilettos are out, as is anything that requires tiny, mincing steps.  I need to feel like I can reach, bend, stretch, move in my clothes.

But still, I can have more fun in this new, strange body. Well, not strange.  It's just a body I haven't seen in a long time.  It was all covered up with extra fat, and of course, lots of fabric.


So more often, as the session went on, I found myself saying, You're right.  I haven't worn that in ages.  Sometimes I pull it out of my closet, put it on, and then toss it back into the closet, because it's too big, or looks like shit on me, or both.  No, you're right.  I look like hell in brown.  I don't know why I have so many pieces of brown clothing.

At the end of the event there were five piles of clothing on the bed:
  1. These need to go to dry cleaning NOW
  2. These need to go to Goodwill.
  3. These might could go on Ebay.
  4. These need to have about 18" chopped off the hem, or taken in, or both.
  5. These are on probation (where you take an item and put it in a separate part of your house, and if you haven't worn it in 6 months, out it goes.)

My "to be altered" pile is pretty big, and will be chipped away at over the next few months.

Meanwhile.

The stuff that is left is, in all honesty, pretty much what I wear now about 90% of the time anyway.

Now, there is more room in the closet, for more adornment, as I continue to explore the new meaning of the space I take up, and the self that I think I am.  I can have fun with this new, smaller me.




...

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Dear Diary,

13.  My standard rule regarding my weight ticker is that once I've hit a weight and kept it there for a week, I change my ticker, whether it be up or down. This week, a new low: 146.

12.  Then I got a Groupon for a local Greek restaurant, and ate a shitload of Greek food, and Poof!  Back up to 148, for a day or two, but then dropped again.

11. So, yes, I got THE CALL on Tuesday morning, would I like to come and interview for an internship at the VA?  Oh, wait, let me think HELL YES I would.  So, my interview was today, at noon.

10.  I went to my favorite clothing store to see about getting something decent to wear for the interview.  As a former teacher, I had few summer work clothes to begin with.  In the past two years, the only ones I've amassed are too big.  So, I stopped to get a nice warm-weather office jacket at my favorite store.

While I was at the store I tried on some slacks.  What size, said the sales lady.  "8".  I replied.  She brought me some 8s.
Um.  Miss?  Well....These are too big.

She brought me 6s.  They fit - just a tad snug, but they have spandex in them, so they work.  For the first time since I was a junior in high school, I'm in this newer, lower number.  Cool.

9.  WELL.  Should I be a slave to numbers?  Well, I am anyway, so it might as well be a small one.

WHY am I so hung up on this number?

But the weird thing is taht when I looked into the mirror, I didn't see a smaller number.  I saw--in the words of David Letterman--my pasty white thighs.

*sigh*

I'll just focus on the smaller, new number, and ignore the pasty white thighs.

8. So, I walk into this interview with a sense of confidence because I know a lot of shit.  Being smaller doesn't hurt either .

7.  The interview was a highly structured interview where people took turns asking questions.  I hope I had good answers. Nobody frowned and tapped their pens impatiently.  Nobody looked bored, or unhappy.  Most of the time, they were smiling.
Why do you want to do an internship at the VA?
Tell us about a time you had a conflict where you worked, and how you resolved.
In what way have you used social work in your previous work?
Occasionally there is no stipend available.  Are you still willing to do the internship if that is the case?
How have you worked with veterans in the past?
What strengths do you have to bring to this experience?
and so on...right up to my favorite (and last) question:
What software applications, if any, are you proficient in?

Seriously?  This is the last question? The one that will, hopefully, resound after I leave?

I was flustered for a moment, but just a moment.  Then I said, That's hard for me to answer.  I mean, 'proficient'...I've taught excel, and powerpoint, at the college level, and conducted training in web authoring.  I guess I'm what you might call a 'power user'.  I use email, I spent all day these days using Word.  I'm familiar with your computerized record system; I've used it.  

Smiles all around.

And then I asked my questions.  And then, well, it was over.  It's all over except for the waiting.  It's a highly competitive internship.

6.  Here in 'Burque, where I live, we had Ladies Night at the local cycling store, The Kickstand.  These beyond cool.  There was wine, beer, snacks, and people who represented various cycling interests. I showed up in Outlaws Multisport Regalian, to, you know, represent.  

5. AND, I broke down and bought a pair of cycling knickers this week.  yes--cycling.  Knickers.  I also committed to doing Albuquerque's first women-only triathlon, to be held in August.  I'm very excited about such a thing being in New Mexico.  The finishers will get necklaces, and they are planning a very basic sprint course.  If you live in Albuquerque, come out to Rio Rancho to support this event.  http://livelovetri.blogspot.com/

4.  I also put in my name for the La Luz trail run, which is a local run that happens every year.  I don't think it raises money for charity.  It's 9 miles long.

Oh, c'mon.  You know there has to be a catch.

Well,

Take a gander:





 I know, right?  RIGHT?  I mean, how could I NOT?  It's a 9-mile climb to the top of a mountain.  The mountain is just a few miles from my house.

So, it's a lottery.  I'll find out April 16th if I was selected.

3.  I'm not sure why a kid would show up in an office where someone is deciding if they need mental health treatment and swear constantly at their parent, call them foul names, and believe that it's going to end any way but bad for them.  I really don't.

2.  This is my last build weekend.  10 miles tomorrow, 24 miles on Saturday, and 17 miles on Sunday.

1.   After this weekend, I start tapering down to the first double at the end of the month.  In the meantime, I have assignments to finish, and internships to (hopefully) win.  And numbers to obsess over.  I don't know if things will turn out the way I want them to turn out. For this double coming up, I haven't kept my training up the way I should have.  But for the rest of it, the internship, the La Luz lottery, it's not up to me any longer.  So I'll just focusing on relaxing, and accepting what happens.

...