Thursday, December 31, 2009

Oops. (Thursday Thirteen)

I got so busy with work and having my son in town, that I forgot about this.  Eep.  Then I started watching the twilight zone marathon.  Howww saddddd....I remember it being cool.  Now it's just kind of--meh.  But there's nothing else on, and my favorite early evening show (BONES) has been preempted by overpaid buffoons bouncing a ball.

Tonight, I'll try to make it to midnight.  I have some sparkling wine.  We'll see.

Meanwhile: Thirteen New Year's Non-resolutions.  Things I will NOT do in 2010.

Okay.  Some of these things I wouldn't do on a bet anyway.  I'll leave you to figure out which ones they are.

13.  Once again, I will not eat anything that is bright green, like chlorella.  I'll eat Pesto, however.  I'll always eat Pesto.

12.  I am not making any weight resolutions.  Let the chips fall where they may.  None of the supplements or calorie-restrictions work, so I'm just going to focus on being healthy and fit.  If I lose weight, so be it, but I'm tired of getting an anxiety attack whenever I walk over to the scale.

11.  I won't sign up for a hundred-miler at this weight.  I'm not going to bust my ass to get thinner, but I am going to be realistic.  If I happen to drop, well, then we'll see.

10.  I will not look for any new jobs this year.  I just want to concentrate on the one I have now, which is appallingly low in pay, but one that I enjoy quite a bit.

9.  I'm not going to cut my hair any more this year.  Some trimming of dead ends, maybe.  that's all.  Right now, it just touches my shoulders.

8.  I'm not going to eat any more food at the Chinese place around the corner from where I work.  Mind you, I lurves me some greasy Chinese food.  But.  I think this place takes liberties with their MSG.  I was weak and tired and headachy after I ate there, for no reason I could think of, starting a few hours after I ate it and ending about 24 hours later.  I know, I know, I never believed before.  Now I do.

7. I won't miss my annual dental exam.  I won't miss my mammogram this year, either.

6.  I won't go back on my plan to do fun, cross training stuff.  Like climbing, power yoga, hiking, and  weight-lifting..

5.  I won't miss taking as many classes as possible so I can finish this silly degree.

4.  I will not buy Twin Peaks on DVD.  Or rent it through Netflix.

3.  I will not be a slacker this year.  I will continue my new habit of running at least three miles every morning before work.

2.  I will not, at any given time, refer to myself as a fatass.

1.  I will not stop appreciating my health, my friends, and the wondrous life I have.


Monday, December 28, 2009


We went to a climbing gym yesterday.  No pictures, sorry.  I asked for some, but the truth is that the camera phones are a bit to navigate and our camera has been missing for several months.  Anyway.

So last week a coworker had invited Baboo to go to the climbing gym and he accepted, as something new he'd never tried, and WAS I JEALOUS?  I was.

I had been intruigued by this ever since I saw the guys trooping past the the new house on the trails with big pads strapped to their backs.  For months I watched them, finally settling on the hypothesis that they were headed for some high spot in the mountains to meditate, and maybe do yoga. Never quite satisfied with that answer, since it was about 99% guy trooping by with their big giant pads, so finally I hopped the back wall and shouted to them my curiousity, and they told me they were going bouldering.

You ever do something and say to yourself, "I could do that?"  Not because you're one of those "can-do" kind of people, but because you have this distant memory of yourself climbing trees until your mother, peering upwards through the branches, demands you to come down...NOW...before you kill yourself?

Oh, I was fearless I was.  I was constantly climbing up to very high places and my favorite thing in the world was to be higher than all the neighborhood houses and then sit and wait until my mother came looking for me, and then wait until she was right underneath, and then give a shout.  The look of panic on her face was what I was after--me, the tomboy who ONLY wore boy clothes and thought girls in Alabama in the 1970s were stupid.  I mean, they did stupid things and played stupid games.  Boys had all the fun.  Girls played with dolls, and talked about boys they wanted to marry.  Gaa.  Me and my friends, all boys, would place the Barbie that one of my relatives was foolish enough to gift me in great peril, and then take turns rescuing her.  She remains buried in my back yard somewhere.  I forget where.  I buried her and we were supposed to dig her up, but then I forgot.  Probably busy climbing another tree, or something.  I was reminded sharply of my tomboy roots while watching christmas movies this past week.  My parents gave me a steel-tipped bow-and-arrow set for Christmas one year; can you imagine?  What were they thinking?

Anyway.  So, of course, all that was 35 years ago, I was nine, and I weighed all of about 50 pounds.  Yesterday was a completely different experience, and as I clung to the wall oddly worried about falling--despite the harness--I thought to myself, "Less ass is needed here, and more forearm and finger strength."

Baboo and Sweetface shouted encouragement and suggestions from below.  We all took turns managing each other's rope-and-pully system.  Before climbing, a staff member had given us all the tour and a brief tutorial on how to manage the belay system.  I eyed the pully suspiciously--way, way up there--and imagined a cartoon-like scenerio where Baboo came flying straight down while I was lifted off my feet toward the ceiling.

But reality was way cooler, all the technology worked, and besides, the floor has about a half foot of padding on it, anyway.  We wandered about, testing this wall and that, some leaning forward, some leaning backwards and some going overhead (where gravity and mass inevitably prevailed, at least for me).

Of course, I. Am. Lazy.  But remember, I am also Stubborn.  I will be back.  I felt like I was nine again, and half expected to hear my mom yelling at me to GET DOWN FROM THERE RIGHT NOW, MISTY JANE--I AM NOT KIDDING!  It was a blast, and I plan to file down my nails and go again.

If you go: forget about fingernails.  Do buy some chalk.  wear comfy clothes; girls tended to be more in yoga pants and t-shirts.  Boys wore all sorts of stuff.  Be prepared to be a bit humbled.  But if you're like me, with the echo of childhood ringing in your ears, be prepared to wonder when you get to come back again.


Thursday, December 24, 2009

Thursday Thirteen: Obscure Holiday Image Edition.

13. I'm months behind on blog-reading.  Soon, I'll be stopping by.

12.  SweetFace came in this weekend, He's here for 2 weeks. I laid in supplies: potatoes and bread and pasta.  And rice.  Lots of rice.  Three bags of cereal, couple boxes of oatmeal.  2 cartons of eggs.

Maybe I was overdoing it. I just have these memories of the teenage sweetface, who was essentially a food shredder.  He initially claimed that he doesn't eat much, but I note waning supplies of cereal, to start.

11.  It continues to be disappointingly cold.  This cold "snap" has lasted several weeks, which is annoying.  They call it winter, and an annoying side effect of it is that there is far less time to run after work.  I'm pretty close to buying one of those "daylight" lamps.  I keep checking the reports to see if the cold snap is lifting soon.  Apparently, it's expected to hang around until March.

10. My daughter converted to Jehovah's Witness a few years ago.  They don't celebrate Christmas or Birthdays.  She vacillates monthly between she "is" in the religion and she "isn't".  This month, she isn't which I suppose is handy when your birthday is 2 days after Christmas.  I guess that means I have to get her a present.  dammit.  (She never reads my blog.  She complained that I didn't talk about her enough on it.  She complains about that a lot.)

9. The aforementioned daughter is apparently upset with Seaman Jon.  She put "Jon, your an asshole" on her FaceBook page.  At first, I wasn't going to comment on it, but what the hell, I'm her mother so I posted, essentially, Dear daughter, it's "You're" not "your".  As in, if you're going to show low-class behavior by cursing your brother publicly, at least do it correctly.

8.  Work continues to be so interesting that I don't even stop for lunch.  Last week, I got up at 5 am, run 3 miles, worked 9 hours, eating cold soup at my desk, which I don't mind because I'll eat anything, and also I can't plug in a hot pot because remember--it blew a fuse last week--and I don't want to go all the down to the microwave becuase remember, I. Am. Lazy.

7.  I've decided that Fridays I will not exercise.  I will stay up later on Thursday nights, and sleep later Friday mornings.  I will snuggle.
OR maybe I'll just lay there sleeping with my mouth open.
Either way, I will have a latte, and maybe a bowl of cereal, before going to work, and celebrate my Fridayness.

6. I was hired to quickly that I went into the HR office this week and said, um, hate to bother you, but how often do we get paid, is it by check, are there holidays, et cetera....I've never worked in private industry before.  Government, schools, and non profit thrust you into orientation immediately  IMMEDIATELY.  You can't even start working until everything is signed and your credentials have been verified and you've provided the requisite voided check.

5. So, anyway.  After they answered all my questions, they handed me a list of things they needed me to bring the next day: transcripts, my NPI letter, my license.  I am to find five professional references to attest to my clinicail skills at this, the first real clinical job I've had.  Hmm.  And the forms say, "Dear ____, the above mentioned candidate has applied for a job at our facility...."
Oh.  And also, they wanted me to fill out an application for employment? 

4. It bears mentioning that Sweetface waited until the last minute (2 days before he planned to leave) to buy his ticket.  He was then, apparently, mystified that he couldn't do that online.  So then he went down to buy it in person. 

3. This week, I will increase my daily treadmill runs to 5 miles.  This week's movie:  Garden State. 

2.  I continue to love my job.  It was kind of cool the way they tossed me in there and assumed I knew what to do (I did).  Then every few days, they would add something else in to what I'm doing, assuming that I would know what to do (I do).  I apparently ask the right questions, and don't ask the wrong ones, and I do it all efficiently, and without passive-aggressive behavior.  I'm just saying.

1.  This holiday, be happy that your child is not beating her head against the wall to get the voices to stop, or tried to set you on fire because you wouldn't let her go outside.  Again--that's all I'm saying.

Have a great holiday!!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Tentative 2010 schedule.

January 1, Egg Nog Jog 4M iler
January 17, Ghost Town 38.5 ultra, NM
March 6, Old Pueblo 50 miler, AZ
April 25, Los Alamos Duathon (Little Boy Course) NM
May 1, Ironman St. George, UT
May 22, Jemez Mountain 50k
June 12, Run the Caldera trail marathon, Los Alamos NM
September (early), New Mexico Marathon
September 25, Redman Iron Distance Triathlon, OK
October 9, Pajarito Trail Festival 25k
October (later), Marathon or Ultra, TBD

Assorted sprints and local 5ks: TBD

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Thursday Thirteen

MOOD: Pensive.
MOOD MUSIC: here ya go.

1. Friday: I went shopping, and bought 2 weeks of: oranges, eggs, soup, yogurt.  I like to have those things during the day when I'm working.  I have an energy drink/protein shake  for breakfast, and then mid morning, between assessments, I'll have my orange and hard-boiled egg.  Soup for lunch, or hummus sandwich and vegetables.  (I have a lot of hummus leftover from my party.  NOBODY ate any, and it was on sale.  Hope it freezes.  Also, my favorite instant green tea.  I'll take my boiler to work, so I can have hot tea.

2.  Saturday: I ran about 10 miles.  I felt awful after.  My adductors, mostly. I think.  The muscles that lift your legs. OW.  One hot bath later, I felt much better.
Still.  OW.  Should I be hurting this much?  I thought I had a bigger base than this. Ghost Town is ONE MONTH AWAY, Y'ALL!

3. Later Saturday: Baboo had a work holiday party to go to, but he took me shopping for a few new items to celebrate my new job instead.  I had a flash of insight: "Do you realize that this will be my first job employed in my new profession?" I asked Baboo.  
"I do," he said.
I hadn't I mean, this will be the first salaried position I've held that required my mental health counselor's license.  I would not have been hired without it. I have now officially moved on.

4.  Sunday: I packed up my most useful professional books in a bag and stuck them in my car, so that they can be housed in my new OFFICE.  Also, my resistance bands.
I packed our lunches at night, a new habit I'll try to establish.

5.  Monday: I got up at 5.  I ran 3 miles on the treadmill, then made coffee.  I'm going to do this every day except Wednesdays and Fridays, when I'll do resistance training. I left for work at 7:30.  I was there before 8:00.  
They kind of tossed me in the office, and gave me a general idea of what I'll be doing.
I found the bathroom, mail room, microwave, and other important places.

6.  Monday, p. 2: No facebook, youtube, or personal email at work.  But the best thing is I'm busy, busy, busy doing interesting stuff.  I can talk about it, but only in generalities.
This hospital treats kids.
Some of them were abused.  Some of them abuse.
Some of them are mentally ill.
Some of them are cognitively disabled, and their families can't take care of them.
Some of them are substance abusers.
Some of them have families who need help, not just them.
I never meet these kids, for the most part.

7.  Monday, p. 3:  They gave me a nice office.  And kept acting grateful that I was there.  They handed me an assessment, and I worked on it for about three hours.  My job is to take information about adolescents or  children, and then diagnose and write a treatment plan for them.  It's a psychiatric hospital.  Heavy stuff.  I call social workers and schools and talk to parents.  The day FLEW by.  I worried that I wasn't doing the right work. 
Then, at the end of the day, they were all like, "so, are you coming back tomorrow?"

?? IS there something about this job that they're keeping hidden from me?

8.  Tuesday: I got up at 5 and ran 3 miles.  I watch bits and pieces of a movie while running on the Dreadmill.  This week, it's Fried Green Tomatoes.
I had three new cases.  Generally, I get three a day.  Each one takes me 2-3 hours to complete.  Sometimes they are people actually showing up.  Sometimes they are pages of information and reports and I never actually meet the kid, but in both cases I put together a puzzle, and the solution to the puzzle is, what's wrong with this kid, and how can we help him/her?  Every time a kid seeks treatment at this facility, their case goes through me, and I determine whether or not they need treatment, what kind, what's best for the kid and his/her family.  Sometimes I call a parent, or a case worker, and ask more questions.  It's interesting, and challenging, putting these puzzles together.
The hours fly by.
I mention to one of the directors the potential for being overwhelmed by the sadness and tragedy of these young, ruined lives.
He furrowed his brow for a moment, and then smiled.  "Lets not call them ruined," he said.  "Ravaged, maybe.  But not ruined."

9. Wednesday: Up at 5 again, another 3 miles on the treadmill.  Fried Green Tomatoes is almost over.  I think Friday, I'll put in Practical Magic.  For some reason, quirky chick movies work really well for this treadmill project.
As long as I can be asleep soon after 9, this works for me.  Anything that keeps me up is DISASTER. Gotta have my eight hours. 
I haven't done a single strength or flexibility workout.  So what I've decided is, starting next week, Mondays and Wednesdays will be days that instead of doing my 3-4 miles on the treadmill, I'll do a strength and flexibility workout instead.

10. Wednesday, P. 2: This week, I with a parent and child and had the pleasure to tell the parent, well gosh, your kid is normal.  of course, in behavioral health, we say developmentally appropriate.  Which means, your kids behavior isn't that far off from other kids the same age.
Yes, unfortunately, kids are sometimes insufferably annoying. Sometimes they aren't what we want them to be.  Sorry about that.
But congratulations on how normal your kids is.
Not everything is about pathology.
Some things are just life.
Sometimes life is work.
I'm feeling good about what I do.  I'm helping people.

11.  Wednesday, P. 3:  I plugged in my boiler at work to make some tea, and blew a circuit.  Lost all the power in my office, shutting down my computer, and I suspect the offices on either side of me, except that those people happen to be out today, so we'll never know.  Thank goodness.
It's cold tea for me, for now.  I wonder if a mug warmer would be okay?
They still like me.  Still want to know if I'm coming back tomorrow.

12.  Thursday.  It's Thursday.  My commute is about 25 minutes, not bad, mostly at a breakneck pace straight down the freeway.  I'm close to it at one end, work is close to it at the other end.  Far left lane.
No telephone.  No radio.  Just some music.
Nothing to take my attention away from speeding down the freeway.
I like it.

13.  Weekly wrap-up:
I like my job.
I'm actually running more now.
I was happy to report to unemployment office that I'm working.
I'm not sure how classes are going to fit into this schedule when they start in a month.
I'm working out how Ironman training will commence in late February.
I'm going to just focus on running and strength training for now.
I feel like a trained, skilled, appreciated professional.
I like my job.


Saturday, December 12, 2009

Thinking out loud.

I'm sitting here waiting for the sun to come up so I can start my long run - It's in the low thirties right now, which is the warmest it's been all week.  Damn, I am SICK of winter!  Of course, I'll probably miss the cold in July.

So, I passed my background check, and was fingerprinted, and peed in a cup, and then they asked me for my social security card.  I made a face like I was thinking really hard.  You know the one: You furrow your brow, and look down and to the right right, and maybe bite your lip...but deep inside, I knew: I was never going to find that sucker. I had moved since the last time I'd ever even LOOKED at it, and almost certainly I tucked it into some place so that it wouldn't get lost, the location of which is buried somewhere deep behind memories that I don't need, like how Led Zepelin got their name. 

Which meant I would have to go down to the social security office to get another one.  NOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!

They also asked for transcripts, and I couldn't find the one that seemed to be in my way for the past couple months, so I invoked murphy's law immediately, wrote a check for $4 and mailed it off to my college for copies, and of course, three hours later, I found it.  They are extra careful about background checks.  After all, their primary clients are children and adolescents. 

Then Friday, I talked to them, and they said that they wanted me to get started right away.  Could I come in oh, about 8:30ish so they could settle me into my office and set me up on my computer?  Oh, also, I was told, they were in a meeting discussing my salary, which was likely to be higher than they had originally quoted me. 


Ask anyone I"m obsessed with offices.  For 9 years, I had a giant office through which troops of teenagers tromped every day, writing on my furniture (which I always had to clean) and sticking gum under it.  Then at the counseling center, nobody had their own office, you fought over space on a daily basis, and if you were dumb enough to try to keep your stuff anywhere, interns would take it.  The walls were thin, thin, thin, too. 

How can it be that I am finally starting a job doing what I've wanted to do, for what appears to be decent organization that treats me respectfully?  How?

Have I finally burned off a lot of bad Karma?


Speaking of burning, I still have a lot of catchup to do after eating so much the last couple of weeks. 
I'm going for a run.   

(PS: as I'm writing this, I'm observing a few things. Sweet Baboo, you should know that the cat licks your popcorn bowl when you're not around. )


Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Thursday Thirteen: The Happy News Edition.

1. Last month. I hadn't mentioned this yet, but I have 5 clients, and 3 of them I got myself. The counseling center isn't working out. Again. It's like an abusive relationship, me and this place, and I'm done. I'm tired of fighting my colleagues for a room. I'm tired of not being paid.I'm tired of Evil Bill, the office manager, who doesn't trust degreed professionals with a wifi password, forcing all 9 of them to share a single old workstation.  I didn't take a vow of poverty when I went into behavioral health. I started putting in some serious effort into job hunting right before Thanksgiving.
Keep reading...

2. Saturday night we had a bling party. I highly recommend this. The rule is, everyone shows up wearing stuff they got for the year: hats, finisher's medals, everything.
One of our guys was wearing a Boston medal.
 Dude. Duuuuuude. I rubbed it, but I didn't get any faster. The most unusual bling was the paperweight that DP's beloved brought back from a run in Scotland.

We were left with a lot of food. Not, like, entrees, but homemade cookies, cake, crackers, cheese, et cetera. We're going to finish it off, because you know, it would, like, go to waste otherwise. You know.

3. Saturday, part 2. I ran 11 miles Saturday, the first decent run I've had since rolling my ankle three weeks ago. I'm not saying it was fast. I think the hilly, mixed-surface run was an average of 14-1/2 minute miles. Next week, I'll do a 14-mile long run. I'm switching my hikes to Saturdays, and my long run to Sundays, for December.  But I did it.  I was stiff the rest of the day, but felt good the next morning. 

4. Sunday. I really do think my swim time Sunday is partially due to the strength training I've been doing. I wouldn't have expected to do that well after not swimming since early September. Meanwhile, we've discovered that the local Y is less than HALF of the cost of our old gym, and is newly rennovated.  One of the branches is right next door to where I take my evening classes, meaning that if I get out of class early enough, I can go for a swim before heading home. 

5. Lately.
I've always bad for people who were out of work and having trouble getting a job, but it was always an abstract feeling from the perspective of not having ever had problems finding a job. After 2+ months of searching, I do not believe that everything happens for a reason, but I do believe that this is something good to be had from every bad thing, even if that means only that I can commiserate with someone who is going through the same thing as a behavioral health specialist.
 I don't want to get too good at knowing what unemployment feels like.
Keep reading...

6. So, Tuesday. Last Tuesday night, a fellow social work student who is super nice and reminds me just a bit of Moby, told me there was an opening at a psychiatric treatment facility for kids. The position is for their intake assessment person.  He gave me the name of the clinical director. I called. We played phone tag for a couple days, then set up an interview. I spent the weekend chewing on the skin on the sides of my thumbs.

Tuesday of this week I left 2 hours early and drove through slushy snow to the Interview.

6. Holiday weirdness. Cranberry Bean Pizza. Beans. Cranberries. On a Pizza. Um, yeah: You can have my slice.
instead, why not make some homemade Irish Cream? here's a recipe:
  • 1 cup coconut milk beverage (or you can use cream)
  • Regular can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 2/3 cups Irish whiskey
  • 1 teaspoon instant coffee granules
  • 1 tsp. cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon coconut extract
Put the thinner beverages in a blender, and add the sweetened condensed milk slowly while blending.  Add the powdered stuff last.  Let sit overnight, stir, and serve.  

7. Wednesday. I am permanently a fan of weight training.  I love how it makes me feel.  I love how easy it is to do mundane things, like carrying a basket full of cans around the grocery store (I don't use carts.  They make me feel trapped.  I'm complicated that way.)
Wednesday, I studied, ran 3-1/2 miles, did my strength workout, drove across town (to my new job site) and filled out information for my background check, got fingerprinted and peed in a cup, drove back across town to pick up my new bifocals ,
studied some more, and took my last final for the semester, which was for my Law class, once again surprised to discover how well studying works.

8. This year.  I seem to have finally shaken that "old" feeling that's been dogging me since the youngest kid moved out. It wasn't that I was happy with my new life, I am. Both my parents died pretty young, though, and I just couldn't shake this feeling that time was running out.  
Having a brand new job, though, the kind I've always wanted, is pretty rejuvenating.  I feel like my life is just beginning. 

9. Today. I'm both worried and jazzed about getting back to work.
  • Jazzed: income. Yeah . IN. COME. COME. IN. Come in, income.

  • Worried: when on earth will I have time to train? Seems to me I tried this full time stuff last year, and I was working out in my office, but I'm guessing these new people might actually have stuff for me to do. When do people who work full time train? How do they fit it in?
10. Also. I accepted the job Tuesday without knowing what the salary is or when I would start or if I'd even have an office.  It's an adventure.  While I'm a bit dismayed at the pay, it pays more than unemployment. I knew I would start soon. I didn't care. Plus, they seem so happy to have me there.  It's a job I've always wanted, at a place where employees tend to stay a long time. Win-win

11. Today, P. 2.  I'm running again, finally, but the cold is hard on my asthma.  When it's below freezing I'm pretty breathless.  Today, yes, today, I'm going for a nice, long, 8 mile mixed surface run.  My exams are over, and I've got a job offer.  I'm goin' runnin'.

12.  Tomorrow.  I'm going to work out, and relax.  it will be my last day off for a while.  I'm going for a nice long run, and do my Power 90 workout. 

13. In general.  Ultrarunners are just weird.  Here's an exerpt:

"Barkley 100 Mile
The 100 mile race in Frozen Head State Park TN in late March or early April consists of 5 20-mile loops with 10,400 ft. of climb per loop. There is no aid, no course markings, and often no trail with long climbs of 50% grade or more. When there is trail, it is not maintained, with frequent deadfall, mud, and sawbriers. The cutoff is 60 hours with a historical finish rate of 1% and a course record of 55:42. To prove you completed each lap, you must find 9 to 11 books in the woods marked on your map and bring back a page from each book. No pacers are allowed. Runners must alternate directions on the last lap. Weather: fog, rain, wind, sleet, and snow are common."

I will not say I will never be that weird, lest I be struck with the never say never curse. 

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Race Report. Well, Sorta.

Sunday, I did the swim on a relay team at the Jingle Bells triathlon, a reverse triathlon in Rio Rancho at their aquatic center.  I didn't do the whole race.  Just the swim. 

Some points to consider.

1. It was cold. Holy hell, it was cold. I was really glad to only be doing the indoor swim in the heated pool.

2. It was windy. Holy hell, it was windy. I was really glad to only be doing the indoor swim in the heated pool.The wind was especially nasty given the cold snap we're having, and the generally insane hilliness of the course.  

3. The race director, Mico, said that next year they aren't allowed to call themselves the Jingle Bell tri because another charity race, the Jingle Bell run/walk for arthritis, got all pee-pee-hearted and demanded that Mico stop because, wahhh, they were Jingle Bells first! (Seriously, are we at a point where someone throws a hissy ecause of something like this? Or threatens LEGAL ACTION?)

4. Our runner made me green with envy.  She finished the run in about 25 minutes.  It's a hilly, difficult run, too: fully the first mile or so is up a steep hill, and then down a long sandy hill, and then a gradual uphill to the finish.  This was a reverse tri, and she tagged off in T1 for the cyclist. 

5.  Our cyclist, herself Courtney, prevailed against a very hard, hilly course with a stiff headwind and gusts up to 25 mph.   

4.  Very well run race, benefiting the Rio Rancho Policeman's Fund.  Now that's the way to get those police out there for traffic control!

one problem....

6.  the swim is a bit of a cluster fu*k.  People get clumped up, and because you're going up and back in the same lane before moving over to the other lane, it's dangerous to pass someone.
So here's what happened:
As I ran into the pool area to begin my team's swim, there was a guy in front of me who seemed, shall we say, somewhat uncertain? about getting to the pool.  So, I ran around him and jumped in, and took off.  About halfway down the second lane, he passed me.  Fine.  But then--get this--he immediately slowed down and started breast stroking.  WTF?
I tried to pass him and he sped up.
I dropped back, and he started breast stroking again.
Worse, when he got to the end of the lane at the end it was like he and some other guys just stopped to breathe, and then when I came up on them they would take off, so I was constantly stuck behind 4-6 guys side-stroking, breast-stroking, whatever.
I was actually cursing while I swam.  Finally, I put on a burst and swam between them, flipped, bounced the wall with my feet, and shot under the rope ahead of them to the next lane, because, dammit, I wanted to get home sometime that day.
The guy that had originally passed, me, I think, was pretty annoyed at having been chicked and chased my feet for the rest of the swim, but I finished in 8:50 and got out, running across the timing mat.  Dammit. I know I could have gotten faster if I hadn't been behind the breast-stroking sisters.

Anyway.  Not bad for not having been in the pool for 3 months.  Best of all, the atmosphere was kind of energizing!  I was excited for the people there, and excited in general, and I drove back home planning my training strategy for Ironman St. George!  Westward, HO!


Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Thursday Thirteen.

1) DIET. Holding steady at 169/168. I fell off the wagon pretty hard over the holiday week. I've been trying to climb back on it, but it's pretty hard to climb up on a wagon when you weigh this much. Ba-DUM-pa.

From the New Mexico Independent of Tuesday, the
firm [Optum] had about 13,000 unprocessed
claims...down from a
high of more than
50,000 claims...
2) WORK. Still no full time offers. Even better: the contracted company (OPTUM) in charge of paying charges for the therapy I do part-time is not paying their providers. I don't know why. Does it matter why? No, it doesn't.  

3) Book and Author Review. In addition to the watch I'm going to be reviewing, I'm also going to be interviewing the author of a book called, "Triziphrenia" which is his humorous look at becoming a triathlete. Stay tuned; when I finish finals next week I'll be devoting my time to the book and the interview.

4) VANITY.  I ordered my first bifocals Tuesday, which means I'm old.  Of course, they are progressives, which means I'm vain. When I get used to them, I'll get bifocal contacts. Which makes me even more vain.  I don't care.

5) GRAD SCHOOL.  Finals are this week. Can you just smell the nervousness?  I can.  oh, maybe that's just me.  Never mind.   

6) WORKOUT music.  In my quest to stay motivated in my home workouts, I got ideas for workout songs on this website.  Now this song is stuck in my head.  Enjoy.

7) TONY HORTON'S Power 90. I've been doing this workout for a week now, in addition to my run training. It's about 30 minutes every day, and so far, I like it. I don't mind a bit of repetitiveness. I wear my Vibram Five Fingers, and I have a wooden floor, and that's my workout surface. There is a section called AbRipper 100 that makes me cry, which is probably a good thing. I'm going to do it for the rest of the month, and then transition over to P90X.  These are not being tracked in the Daily Plate. 

8) "Before" pictures.  I told JWim that every time I do a "before" picture I end up quitting whatever program I'm on so I wasn't going to do one before starting the Tony Horton series.    

But then this picture came to my attention when the photographer emailed me and suggested that this would make an excellent Christmas gift.
Yeah.  I'm going to put this in a holiday greeting card. It's just the worst picture that could have been taken on this particular day.  I'm landing heavy, in mile 26 of a marathon I didn't train for in early September.  I'm sweaty, and tired, and not at all enjoying myself.  My posture is terrible because I'm so tired.  There's the bright, overhead sun highlighting every flaw.
Oh, yes.  This is definitely my "before" picture; epecially since I looked better just a few hours later.

9) WORK, PART 2. Nothing yet.  I don't understand what is up with people not acknowledging phone calls, resumes and letters of interest, or even interviews, but it is apparently the new policy for administrators that employees are expendable peons, and you owe them nothing, and if they don't work for you, you owe them even less.  I'm becoming pretty frustrated. I expect more, especially in education and behavioral health, which is supposed to be all about people!

10) SPORTY HOBBIT FEET.  DP (who doesn't blog any more but is very active on facebook) wasn't lying when she said "be prepared to answer a lot of questions when you wear those."  It is quite the ice breaker! Be preparerd to explain why you're wearing them...what you do...why you'd do "that" to yourself (running long distances) and how they feel.

11) Smoke.  SMOKE!  As in, I have a wood stove, and people tell me I smell all good, "like winter".  As in, I need to either shower more or we need to learn how to get the danged thing to draft properly, because me and all my clothes carry the fragrant smell of cedar and pinon smoke with me everywhere I go.  

12) CONTEST: I think I'm going to have people email me directly about this. To enter, email me at:

13)  TRIATHLON RELAY.  Sunday I'm doing the swim as part of a team in a sprint triathlon in Rio Rancho.  That's about as motivated as I am toward triathlon right now.  I wonder if I'm a little burned out on it. 


Sunday, November 29, 2009

In which I'm sucked in by another fad - Review of Vibram Five Fingers Shoes.

You just had to know, that it was only a matter of time before I progressed from this:

to this:

Earlier today Sweet Baboo and I hopped into the car and headed up to Santa Fe to a store called, "On Your Feet" where they had Vibram Five-fingers in stock.

I've been somewhat intrigued by these since I first heard about them.  I grew up in Alabama and rarely wore shoes.  I was constantly admonished by my mother for this, For goodness sake, Misty Jane, put on your shoes.  We are civilized people, not hillbillies but in the south where grass is thick and soft and cool, it behooves you to feel it under your feet and between your toes.  There are streams to run around in, and wet clay earth is pretty nice between the toes, too.  But I digress.  In any case, my mother's voice was later replaced with Sweet Baboo voice who suggested that perhaps it was unseemly for a civilized, educated woman to consantly be picking thorns and briars out of her blackened feet. I relented--to him, and to the thorny, sandy, gravelly terrain, and stopped going barefoot.

What I did instead was to wear socks everywhere.  Not everywhere, I mean. but around the house, for just running out and getting the mail, or into the garden to dump coffee grounds or ask Baboo if he wanted dinner soon.  My poor, poor socks, with their tattered, grey-brown bottoms, no matter their original color.  And, my children picked up my bad habits.

Then Vibram came out with these shoes.  DP and Bones each got a pair, and I was envious, but I figure that if you're unemployed, you don't get to buy expensive toe shoes.  Sweet Baboo had other ideas, especially after reading, "Born to Run".

My reason for wanting to try these on before buying them was because that I fully intend to wear them always with my Injinjis.  I have reasoned, and Baboo has read or heard, that they can get a little smelly otherwise.  The physics of adding an extra layer to ones feet inside shoes would suggest a different size, but how different?  We aimed to find out.

The shoe store ("On Your Feet") for anyone who visits here, is awesome.  It is the best place, in my opinion, to get whatever hippie healthy shoe you want to get.  By "healthy" I mean in terms of what is good for your feet or posture, not for the poor animals that were killed to make most of them.
But anyway.  They carry Clarks, Teva, Merril, and Keen - I could have easily taken out a 2nd mortgage to do some serious shopping in here.    The salespeople know shoes, too.  They didn't just sell them, they knew their product.
I tried on the KSO model (KSO = Keep Stuff Out) and Oh, My, Gosh - they felt great.  I felt like I was barefoot, only better, because I wasn't going to pick thorns out of my feet.  Wow.

We each got a pair of the KOS model, and then drove back to Albuquerque.  Immediately Baboo and I went for about a 2-mile hike up and over some sandy hills containing some gravel, and I could feel that my ankles are going to need some work, because with each step my feet were so firmly planted that everything else rotated and moved over them.  I could feel some of the gravel under my feet, but it wasn't painful.  Nevertheless, I can tell that I'll have to work my way up to wearing these for long distance hikes and/or jogging on trails.  Running up and down short inclines I  felt pretty secure, even the ones covered with slippery sand and gravel.

I've been wearing them all day, including around the house, and they feel great - snug and comfortable, but not in that creepy, sweaty sort of way that some shoes can be.  Vibram also makes the TREK.  I will definitely be looking at these for trail running.  Look at these soles:

I'm under no illusions that my spine and feet will have some adjusting to do.  SOMETHING has to adjust to that lack of stiffness and padding. I was told in the recent past by the guys at Albuquerque Running Shop,  that I have an advantage in the long history of running around barefoot and in the nine years I spend standing and walking around on a slab at work, but even so, it will be an adjustment curve to get to wear these for running trails.

In the meantime, I'm of the opinion that once you hit 40, you get to be as weird as you want, so I consider these completely acceptable for my bluejean world of school and for seeing clients, as well as workouts and yoga.

For more fancy or formal occasions in the world of non-profit, like interviews and meetings, I'll hang onto my Keen Mary Janes.


Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanksgiving Thirteen: In no particular order.

1)Purring kitties. 

2) My health. It's true; I'm turning into the pill queen. But it could be much, much worse.

3) My Sweet Baboo.

4) My children. They've all turned out pretty well, and they still like me.

5) My inlaws. Given the lack of family I currently have, my inlaws are the best family I could have. They are nice, normal people. I've heard some inlaw horror stories. I have nothing to contribute.

6) My feet. They've taken me a long way. In all the crazy things I've done, I've gotten a blister on maybe 2 occasions, and it was a tiny blister at the tip of my toe that I didn't know was there until after I was done.

Nary a stress fracture nor problem. 

7) My hair. Very little gray. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

8) My sanity. I've withstood a lot of experiences that I'm grateful only to put behind me.

9) My mind. I'm grateful that at any time I can decide to go to school and find it an easy endeavor.

10) My knees. Fingers crossed, they're hanging in there.

11) My hips. Ditto.

12) Our little house in the hills.

13) Popcorn.

13) Crackling fires of cedar and pinon.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Tuesday Twelve

...because I have something else planned for the Thursday Thirteen.

1) oh, THOSE thoughts. You know the ones. They start out as a whisper...why, she's the same size as me, not much younger, and she just did a _________...then a murmur. I wonder if *I* could do a (fill in the blank here:) _________...then the next thing you know, you're narrowing it down to which crazy-assed race you're going to sign up for. Which is what I did.

I eliminated the Pinhoti hundred-miler, for now, because you should always train like you race, and for my first hundred-miler, I can't train for a southern, semi-tropical pine forest, given that I live in Albuquerque. However, I reserve the right to do this one some day, because it's really close to where my sister lives, and they have fried egg sandwiches on the course. Not that this is all that unique, mind you...most ultras are basically a run from one buffet to the next.

I eliminated the Rocky Racoon hundred-miler, because if you sign up for the hundred, and finish at least 50 miles, they don't give you credit as having finished the 50 mile race which is on the same route, on the same day.

That leaves me with the Javalina Jundred, which as the same course that exists in my back yard (rocky, high-desert) and if you finish at least 4 of the 6-1/2 loops, you get a "whimp out" 100k option, a 100K belt buckle.

DP has kindly offered to be my boss lady for the event.

However, I still have to get down to 160 before I'll sign up (72.5 kg for our international friends).

2) WEIGHT. I'm losing a half pound a week.\At this rate, I'll be sending Javalina my money sometime in January. I would like it to be on record that given that I eat between 1300 and 1800 calories a day (depending on my workout that day) and run a minimum of 25 miles a week, I think 1/2 pound a week is rediculous, but given the alternative (not losing anything), I'll take it.

3) THINGS I SAID I'D NEVER DO. I went to Trader Joes last week. They had the cheapest Tofurkeys in town. I also bought some corn soup. So there.

4) Gaaa! Since I can't eat soy any more, the hot flashes are coming fast and furious. I wake up every two hours, drenched in sweat. Baboo is most sympathetic, but obviously helpless; there's not much to do when your wife suddenly rises, strips off her shirt, and walks out in to the back yard in the middle of a cold, cold night. This is not as attractive as one might think.  Or maybe it is. I don't know. 

5) High.
Baboo, Courtney, and I climbed up to the South Peak of Sandia on Saturday. It was a 14-mile round-trip, and I was pretty sick that afternoon. I think I need to get used to that altitude. I felt great on Sunday, though.

I went for a 30-mile bike ride with friends Sunday. It goes without saying that since I haven't sat on a bike since September, my butt hurts, but not as bad as I thought.  More importantly, my legs didn't burn or hurt. I was expecting a miserable, cold time, and I had a wonderful time on a beautiful day with some of my favorite friends.

7) George's LEGACY: Why an I just hearing about this whole Real ID thing?  Will I be able to travel next year without a passport in my own country?  Who's working on this? WHO?

8)  ONE PERSON at school has noticed that my hair is a completely different color.  What.  The.  Hell.  everyone else is, like, "Oh, your hair is a different color?"
YES!  YES!  It is BROWN now!  Geez!

9) *SPAM ALERT* FREE STUFF!  L@@K!  Last year Tech4o asked me to review their watch with the built-in pedometer.  This year, they've asked me to review their women's watch with a heart-rate monitor strap. The Tech4o company is sending me an extra watch, so that I can do a contest giveaway.

So, this is what I've come up with:
What you have to do is guess what my finishing time will be at Ghost Town 38.5 in January.  The person closest to my actual time without going over will win a Tech4o watch with heartbeat monitor on which I have drawn a smiley face with a sharpie on the back.  Whee!  in the case of a tie, I'll be asking those in the tie a trivia question.
Happy guessing.

10)  JOB.  Still don't have one.  Still working on that.  Given my druthers, I'd still rather do therapy.  I'm headed to some agencies tomorrow with copies of my resume.  If I could get 15 paying clients a week or more, I could make a go of it.  Perhaps I've been at this agency too long.  In two months, they've given me two clients.  TWO.  Time to move on.

11) CHEESE! As I write this I am watching a show about cheese on Modern Marvels.  It's surprisingly interesting.  One time I watched "The History of Cereal" and it was also surprisingly interesting.  No, really.  Oh, also: Americans eat 100 acres of pizza a day.  You're welcome.

12) TRAINING.  I'm back on track.  This week I'll be running 2, 4, 6 (monday, tuesday, wednesday) 14, and 8 (saturday, sunday).  The 14-miler will be a hike. 


Thursday, November 19, 2009

Thursday Thirteen

1. Hair. It's as dark and straight as I remember it being about 15 years ago. I was expecting a lot of gray, but the gods who gave me hypothyroidism, asthma, and a host of allergies decided to give me a break on this one. Yay!

I liked being a blond, but my hair grows nearly an inch a month, and there's lots of it. Plus, the 18% humidity here, chemical processing, swimming, and crappy hotel shampoos at race venues are just a bit drying. Less $$ for maintenance = $$ for race entry fees, right?
My hair dresser says my dark hair is really going to make my green eyes, "pop".
I suggested to him that using the word, "pop" isn't so good for describing what eyes might do.

2. Reboot. I had an interview this week, but no call came from HR. :-( I'm hoping for another interview soon.

3. CHEAP!! Since I've been off work I've reverted quickly to the survival mode from when I was a single parent. Last week I dug a cactus needle out of my thumb that had been stuck in there for a week because it just seemed silly to pay someone else to do it when I had Orajel and a knife handy. Soon I'll be splinting injuries with sticks and closing wounds with super glue.

4. Training. I was invited to do a coffee ride this past Sunday (As you know, I love trying desperately to catch my super fast friends on one of their "rides"). I took one look at the forecast for snow and rain and typed back, COUNT ME IN! because I knew we'd never go.
I was right. It was 30 degrees and snowing, the ride was canceled, and I spent the day in with a fire and movies.
But now I have the benefit of having come across as being as a motivated joiner. Unless they read this.

5. Ankle. I'm hiking on trails again. The ankle moves forward and backwards, but not so much side-to-side. I have started gently manipulating it by hand. It still hates me, but now the hate is more like a pout than a scream.

6. UP. I went hiking with Sweet Baboo and Courtney anyway. I took it easy because of the ankle thing, and only climbed up to 9400 feet. Next week, we're headed to the south peak.
7. Future Races. I have been stricken by the "never say never" curse and plan to sign up for a hundred-miler when I reach 160 pounds. I haven't decided which one. I'm looking at Pinhoti (near my sister), the Javelina Jundred (cool buckle, and a 100k "wimp-out" option) or Rocky Racoon (flat, flat, flat but boring, boring, boring). Each of these races is superbly organized and supported.

8. WEEPY. Does getting older mean you cry at every damned thing? Even movies I've seen a million time do this to me. In fact, movies I've seen a million times are worse: I start to get choked up in anticipation of what's about to happen. I'm pathetic.

9. Foot.
A new development: a pain between two of my toes on the bottom of my right foot. Mostly felt going downhill. I hear it's called a neuroma, and is hard to get rid of . Oh, YAY.

10. Training, P.2. I've started over with the 50-mile training plan. I'm a bit behind because of the ankle thing; I've only done 47 miles this month so far.

11. FIRE! Sweet Baboo has gotten really good at making fires! His fires are roaring and burn away any accumulated soot on the glass, so you can see them clearly. This means they burn out accumulations in the chimney, too.
This was Sunday's fire:

12. Cookies. Sunday Sweet Baboo asked if we could have some sort of cookie. Well, hell, the man had made a kick-ass fire, so sure, I started looking for healthy PB cookie recipes.
One recipe said "low fat" but included a cup of butter-flavored crisco "or butter."

Another one required olive oil. Olive oil? in cookies?

Another one required maple syrup, which people like to imagine is safer than sugar, because it's all natural and junk. Of course, snake venom and botulism are also natural, but trying to explain that to certain people is like trying to explain to them that quartz crystals are chemically identical to window glass. It creates a cognitive dissonance that they cannot overcome.
But I digress.
Anyway, I don't like maple syrup. I like Mrs. Butterworths. So there.

Well, after looking at various recipes, I decided to make up my own. How hard could it be?
And, Oh, My, Goodness. They sucked. Apparently, baking is, like, a skill.

Plus, my oven thermostat is broken, and of course, I won't get it fixed because I'm too cheap and I only use the stupid thing twice a year anyway. So, unless I go over to the oven and turn it off for about one minute out of every 5, everything BURNS..

The recipe yielded 5 decently cooked bland cookies and about 15 peanut butter charcoal briquettes.

I will continue to experiment. I'll post a recipe when I have one that works. Meanwhile, just go ahead and skip telling me about PB cookies at Trader Joes. Remember: I will not join your Trade Joe's cult.

13. Motivation. I have a friend that calls me every 4-5 months to tell me how much she really needs to get fit. I'm not naming names. I don't think she reads my blog, anyway.
So. She tells me how badly she needs to work out, and makes a date to go on a trail hike or short run with me, doesn't show up, and then I don't hear from her again until the next quarter. This has been going on for a few years.
She was supposed to come over the same day I agreed to cycle with my very super fast cycling friends. Of course, I was not troubled by the double-booking, as I was relatively certain the weather would cancel the cycling and my friend would not show up.
I was right. I relaxed all day, until i did a late afternoon hike with Baboo. Win-win. Meanwhile, the door's always open for her.


Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Thursday Thirteen.

1) Home Gym. Is awesome.  Mind you, we bought nothing, we'd collected this stuff over the years: a stability ball, bands, dumbbells, weight bench, treadmill, industrial fan, mini fridge, many workout and training DVDs.  But now it's consolidated in the garage with the TV and DVD player from the guest room.  No cable.  (Yet.)  
Ahhhh.  The life of the empty nest couple is a spoiled, wonderful life!!
(You may commence with the hate and envy)

2) Ankle.  much better.  Lunges and certain yoga moves, are are still out.  Lots of soaking in an icy goldfish pond and diclofenac has been working.  I can jog with no pain, but only on the treadmill for now. 
I thought it was all healed up, but then Tuesday when I was pushing my foot down into a shoe--OWWWWWW.  Ankle does not want to be maneuvered in any way.  Swelling is gone, but no trails for me until at least a week AFTER it stops hurting. (And thanks - I've been stretching my archilles every day.)
3) Circuits and Strength training.  I downloaded some workouts from,   On my no running days, I cross-train: walk on the treadmill for 10 minutes, then 2 sets of the 3 resistance/strength-building exercises, walk another 10 minutes, and then do 2 sets of the next 3 exercises, and so on...while a movie is playing.  I like circuits; they break up the time.  So does an old movie.   

4) My running plan.  New training started this week.  I get my run plans generated here. I'm jogging easy for now, on the treadmilll.

5) Shoulders and arms endurance.  Strength training is becoming a big part of my weight loss and training and ankle recovery plan.  On the treadmill, I use 1 pound weights in each arm.  I need to build up my endurance for swinging my arms for 9....10....14....hours.  I alternate 1-minute of punching and doing bicep curls as I go (on the treadmill.). The 1-minute wil increase to 2, and so on. I use low weights, lots of reps.

6) Dreadmill.  Raise the incline to a 3, and it will shorten your stride and take the stress off the front of your legs. Also, you can do walking lunges on a treadmill. 

7)  Thought for the day. 
If you want your life to be a magnificent story, then begin by realizing that you are the author and every day you have the opportunity to write a new page.
Mark Houlahan

8)  Weight.  169 still, probably because I haven't done much in 3 weeks except walk a bit (Recovery from Palo Duro, Ankle twist) Ideally, I'd like to be at 150 when I toe the start line at my first 100-miler, but if I get down to 160, I'll know my body is at least serious about losing weight, and I'll sign up.
(Note how I put all the responsibility anthropomorphically onto my body, not my crappy willpower). 
On the plus side, I just put my size 14 jeans away, and took out my size 12s.

9) Oral Fixation.  Does anyone but me have a weird cat that nurses on clothes?  You'd think after 8 years of living with this cat I'd be used to how weird she is, but--no.

10) New shoes.  Since New Balance betrayed me by redesigning their shoes, I'm trying a new one (Asics). Some day, when my ankle heals, I'll get to wear them again.  (Sigh.)

11) Work.  I've been working for free.  I didn't go to college to work for free.  I've decided I'll probably  return to teaching 'till I'm done with social work school.  The upside to this is more amusing stories.

12)  Teaching. Full time work and full time school doesn't leave a lot of time.  We'll see.  I may have to put off my first hundred-miler, even if I do make my self-imposed weight limit by December 31st.  In fact, I'm not even sure I can pull off Ironman training for St. George on May 1st. 

13)  Bucket list.  Despite all my rantings about how I will never go back to Alabama, there is this one trail run that I simply must do before I die.  Not only is it very close to where my sister lives, but the race website actually claims that the trail is unmolested.  Seriously.  How can I avoid an opportunity to molest a trail?  i ask you.  SRSLY. MO. LEST.  a Trail. 


Saturday, November 07, 2009

SweetFace comes home.

This is kind of a long post but it explains one of my children I haven't written about before.  About 25 years ago, I had my first child, a boy.  He was nearly 9 pounds. The anesthesiologist, later fired, claimed I was too noisy and being a big baby and that, he "just couldn't work with me" before he walked out.  BabyDaddy, meanwhile begged me to stay awake so we could experience our little miracle together and so it was, 20 hours after I arrived at the hospital, he was born--natural childbirth with just some Demerol to take the edge off.

His father, who was into creative anachronism, wanted to name him Darthtania.  yeah, right.  I named him Derek. 

My father (pictured, right) called him "Oily".  Derek = oil, get it? Oh, Dad was a card, he was.
My mother named him Sweetface, and in the tradition of many  grandparents, they immediately fell in love.   

So. anyway.

Swwetfaces' father died when he was 2.  As he grew, it was clear that Sweetface was an odd, sweet boy.  When he was in kindergarten, the school called me to a meeting where they informed me that he was bright.  like, really bright.  I was surprised; I hadn't spent much time around small children and I thought all young children could write letters at age 2, and know the name of many of the presidents at age 5.  As he got older, after I bought my first computer, I taught him DOS, HTML, and how to calculate cubes and squares.   

But he was odd.  Unusual.  Kind of a loner.  He became the natural target of bullies with nobody to stick up for him.  They were merciless, until finally when I accidentally happend upon a certain 12 year old who had been bullying him.  I leaned over and whispered in his ear, there are all sorts of things i could do to you that your parents would never know about, and i will come for you in the night if you ever touch my kid again.  
That seemed to take care of that.

SweetFace once walked over and leaned against me when he was 9, and told me he wished he were like other kids.  He even said that sometimes, he was so tired of being called weird that he thought he might even want to die.
When I was able to breathe again after he said that, I told him that weird people invented things, because they thought in a way that nobody else thought.  I told him weird was good, but yes, wierd people are  sometimes lonely until they found the other, weird people in their lives that were out there waiting for them to meet them.  He seemed satisfied with that answer, and began to embrace his weirdness.  Perhaps a little too much.

I endeavored to teach him the responsibilities that come with intellectual prowess.  He had a paper route.  in South Dakota.  Meanwhile, he bore the responsibility of being the oldest son of a single mother. 

Then the death of his beloved grandmother and a short-lived relationship with an emotionally abusive stepfather took his toll on him, and he became a bright and very angry teenager.

Sweetface skipped Algebra in high school because he seemed to already understand it, and went straight to Advanced Placement maths.  By the time he was 15, he had taught himself 3 programming languages.  He knew a lot about computers.  It was intuitive to him, as it was to me, and as it was to my dad, who was a database programmer beginning in the early 70s.

But.  He used that knowledge freely that to violate computing rules at the high school.  he was on a quest to prove that he could not be kept out of anything.  The kid was sleeping his way through getting a B in advanced mathematics, but failing the entire year of english and history and computer science because, "well gosh, mom, it's just math--anyone can pass math," and, "those other classes are stupid and boring."  He was an angry, angry kid and everyone else in the household bore the brunt of it--us, his brother, everyone. He had no appreciation for the rare gift he had up above his eyes, and his boundary violations escalated.

Baboo, who came into his life at age 14, had not been in his life long enough to be a real influence.  After his third suspension for computer violations, Sweet Baboo and I reluctantly, after taking deep breaths, pulled him out of high school and put him in the military.  It was before we discovered multisport.  Maybe if we'd known it sooner, we might have turned him around, as we did his younger brother.  There's no sense in second-guessing.

He passed his GED in the 93rd percentile.  And then early one morning soon after, the recruiter picked him up at 5 am and drove him away.  At the time, I had no idea we were going to go to war against Iraq.   It has been a long 8 years with no small amount of worry and guilt, I promise you that.

These haven't been easy years for him.  He's had to learn that even brilliant young men sometimes have to be grunts and be yelled at and wade through a mile of crap until they've earned their way in the world.  He's learned that just being brilliant isn't any good without boundaries and a work ethic. He has learned that the process of becoming a man is painful, something that I, his mother, could not have taught him.

They marched and yelled the anger right out of him.  He grew older, and matured.  He seems to be now more like that odd, sweet boy, except now he's an odd, sweet young man.  And still really, really weird.  And proud of it.  He gets out of the Army in May 2010, and has already made contacts with the veteran's liason at the local university to make full use of his GI benefits.  They did a vocational assessment on him, and he chose to be a database programmer.

I'll be glad to have him home and get to know him again, my odd, sweet boy, minus the anger.


Sweet face, in his own weird day, has never shown any interest in having a driver's license.  He rides a bicycle everywhere.   He prefers this.  Hmm. 

Oh, and there's this: an unsolicited comment that SweetFace's pediatrician made once, a long time the time, it was meaningless, and seemed like a strange thing to say to the mother of a 3-year-old, but it's stuck in the back of my mind all these years, and especially the last 4 or 5 years, I think about it a lot:
Your son's knees are built in a way that they can take a lot of stress.  People with knees like this seem to experience fewer injuries - they make good runners. 

Welcome home, Sweet face.   We'll have you doing sprints in no time.




 I'm no longer involved in multisport or endurance sports. I've started my own business, a psychotherapist specializing in anxiety d...