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It is Possible.

May 6, 2015

I get jazzed about possibilities. My favorite days are Mondays. My favorite holiday is New Year’s Eve. It’s all that possibility hovering around. It makes the air charged with excitement–like holding a sparkler a little too close on the 4th of July.

For years all I had was possibility. I wasn’t doing anything. Well, nothing productive, at least. I read only what could be contained on my computer screen (this was before blogs were popular, before online reading could sustain a person’s intellect in any real way). I only wrote self-pity fueled musings about my own suffering (most of which was self-made, all of which was surmountable). I spent most of my time “hanging out”–which meant I was drinking on someone’s porch, drinking in a bar, drinking at home. Always drinking. Always talking. Not really doing.

When I quit drinking, I had nothing but time. The possibilities almost crushed me. Turns out, early sobriety made me fear possibility. Possibility made it entirely possible to fail. When I first got sober, it was hard for me to understand anything, really. But it was impossible for me to get that I had to put myself out there, if I wanted to really live. I was a champion at existing. Living… not so much. Living requires risk. And imperfection. And mess. Living is scary. And beautiful.

Risks still frightens me. I am cautious by nature. I weigh the options. I examine possible outcomes. I want to know how its going to turn out before it even begins. I was the kid who read the last few pages of a novel before I was even halfway through, because I couldn’t handle the uncertainty of the ending.

But I believe there is a part of me, hidden way deep down under the control freak, who loves risk. It’s the part of me that loves possibilities. It’s also the part of me that is going to have to believe myself & my Higher Power if I am going to make things happen.

2015 is the year of possibility for me. I am open. I am willing. I am writing.

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Five Fingers Debut

January 30, 2012

Over the Christmas holiday, I bought a pair of Vibram Five Fingers.

I know, I know.  I had a hard time admitting that I wanted a pair.  But, after reading Born to Run, I felt like giving my feet and legs a chance to perform more naturally could really enhance my running.  And the idea that a barefoot-like experience could help my feet naturally rebuild their arches got to me.  One of my arches collapsed when I was about 13–completely excruciating pain.  Over 20 years later, I still cannot relax enough to get a decent foot rub for fear someone will accidentally touch my arch.  And Jane once swung her little foot around and landed it right on my arch, and I almost puked.  So, yeah, if my arches could be less sucky, that would rock.

Since I have a  race coming up in March, I am leery of overdoing the Five Fingers.  I have heard that too much mileage too quickly can really trash a runner’s legs.  So, I opted just to wear them to the gym for their inaugural outing.

Now, I will freely admit that for whatever benefits they may offer, these things sure are crazy looking:

When I walked into the YMCA today, people could not stop staring.  Truly.  As I was dropping Jane off at the childcare area, a woman stopped me to ask me if I ran in those (as she pointed to my shoes).  I gave her too much credit and actually assumed she wanted a real answer.  But as soon as I said, “Well, not really…”  She jumped in with “Well, why are you wearing them then??”  Okay, Captain Combative… Do I really owe you an explanation for my footwear?  Then she proceeded to (very loudly) discuss with the woman next to her how much shoes like that cost.  Lovely.

After the initial encounter with a rather confused public regarding my choice of footwear, I made it into the gym and actually began working out in the Five Fingers.  Um… RAD.  I could feel the muscles in my feet and legs working as I went through my routine.  Heck, I could even see the muscles in my legs responding differently.  And I was comfortable.  I felt athletic… and natural, somehow.

I guess I will get used to people staring, because the Five Fingers will be making a regular appearance at the Y.  And I am hoping next week to ease them into a short run on one of my off days.  I really didn’t foresee crushing this hard on these crazy shoes.  But the three year old at the Y really got me (and the shoes)… he squatted down in front of me and petted them lovingly.  His horrified mom could barely drag him away.  And the whole way out, he kept talking about the shoes with the toes (over and over again).  Yeah, little dude, I totally know where you are coming from.

Is Freezing in Place a Lame Superpower?

November 2, 2011

Now that we have that whole vegan thing out on the table, we can move on to discussing the good stuff:  my partner, Amy, and my daughter, Jane.  Oh, you thought you were stuck with endless pontification about veganism and a recipe or two?  No, no… we have lesbians! And parenting!  We have gay parenting!  And perhaps the cutest 9 month old to ever draw a breath.

Speaking of… Since Jane was born, I have gone in at least once during the night to make sure she was still breathing.  I know, I know.  Macabre.  Why wouldn’t the kid be breathing?  Amy assures me it is Jane’s biological imperative to continue to breathe.  But, about this I worry.  So much so that we bought a crib monitor that assures me that she is still breathing.  Unless she rolls off the sensor, which sets off the alarm, which wakes  her up.  And then, yes she is breathing… but she is also crying.  And now everyone is up.  

I finally admitted defeat and quit using the monitor after a particularly squirrely night during which her acrobatics set of the monitor (and woke her up in the middle of the night) three different times.  But, the lack of a monitor has really upped the ante on checking on her… and increased my ability to freeze in place.  I am  complete rockstar at freezing in place now.  I can even slow down my breathing to a rate imperceptable to the average human… but not to the average 9 month old.  I swear, her superpower must be mommy-sensing.  And if she ever realizes I am there and opens her eyes, it is over, man.  Because she sits up and smiles right at me. Sure, I could walk out of her room without picking her up, if my heart was made of stone.

My solution to this madness?  I just send Amy to check on Jane now. Ames probably needed to work on her ninja-freezing-in-place-skills anyway.

You are WHAT? You have got to be kidding me…

November 1, 2011

For the past 17 years, what I am eating (or not eating, as the case may be) has been a topic of conversation among my family, friends and sometimes complete strangers.  It all started, as did some other rather life changing events, when I was 19…

The first girl I fell in love with (and oh my LORD was I in love) was a vegetarian.  So, of course, I decided I couldn’t possibly consume another chicken wing, in the name of love & all.  In the four years we were together, I eschewed most meat… except fish.  

Uh oh.  Danger.  This is where I began to notice that other folks were profoundly interested in my dietary choices.  See, you can’t say you are a vegetarian, if you eat fish.  Other real vegetarians will be peeved.  But to my mother, who was mighty put out by my refusal to eat beef stroganoff (and about the lesbian thing, too), I was a vegetarian, for sure.  And there was much sighing and many noisy ingredient subsitutions on her part.  So, I just said I was a vegetarian, opting to explain apologetically my consumption of our fish friends when I encountered a real vegetarian.  They were fewer in number than regular folks and easier to deal with than my mother.

I bounced in and out of vegetarianism for the next 5 years or so.  The first love & I split up (out! Yay, chicken wings!).  I declared myself a buddhist (in! Must not eat sentient beings!).  And, finally in 2007, I gave up meat (except not fish!) for Lent (oops!  I had also reacquainted myself with the Methodist church… but that is another story), and I just never started eating meat again after Lent was over.  I found that being a vegetarian (of sorts) forced me to examine my food choices.  Fast food wasn’t really an option any more.  I started packing my lunches.  I lost 10 pounds.  And I was comfortable with my choice.

My mother and mother-in-law–not as happy with my choice.  For almost two years, every time I ate at my mother-in-law’s house, I only ate sides.  And a salad.  And I would leave STARVING.  My mom, well she bemoaned all the things I couldn’t eat… And all the ways they would need to accomodate me on holidays.  The message was clear:  my eating habits were annoying, and while they would be tolerated, I would certainly have to pay a price for my finickiness.  I hated being the center of that kind of negative attention.  I mean, who wants to have any choice they make dissected repeatedly by the entire family?  

Folks outside the family often seemed perplexed by my food choices.  “What do you EAT?”  Or, my favorite, “I am a vegetarian, but I eat poultry.”  I know, I know… I was a seafood-eating vegetarian; but I was pushing the limits of the definition of vegetarianism to its boundaries.  People who eat chicken are definitely NOT vegetarians.  Sheesh.  And, God forbid someone else have to order food for me at a work or social event… Somehow, it almost always came off as if they were doing me a big favor by accomodating my needs.  All I wanted was to be able to choose what I put in my body without it being a big production.  

Well, if I thought the vegetarian issue was pushing the bounds of people’s capacity for tolerance, I had another thing coming.  When I decided I was going to give veganism a whirl, my food choices became (apparently) really threatening to other people.  Look, I just wanted to do the 21 Day Vegan Kickstart.  I thought the three weeks would probably suck, but I would be forced to eat more fruits and veggies (since my 9 month old daughter is clamoring to get her hands on whatever I am eating, that seemed like a laudable goal).  

But, it didn’t suck… And, I was learning to cook!  And, I had lots of energy!  And then I watched Forks Over Knives.  And being vegan began to seem like the only logical choice for me.  And that is the key:  for ME.  I don’t want to prostelytize veganism (although I do think everyone should watch Forks Over Knives).  I don’t really care what anyone else eats.  But I do care what I eat. And it is my choice to head in the vegan direction.  

Yes, veganism and all its oddities has been a topic of conversation among family and friends.  Yeah, I am having to listen to some rather confrontational critiques of my choices.  But what really gets me is that some other vegans won’t find me vegan enough because I eat honey (lots of honey.  For reals).  And I refuse to grill wait staff about what is in the food… I avoid items that obviously have eggs or dairy; I will ask about vegan items, but I do not insist on a complete ingredients list.  So, again, I am in the somewhat odd situation of being too much of something for the majority of the popluation and not enough of that very same thing for the little subset that I belong to.  

Here’s my bottom line:  I make choices about food thoughtfully.  My choices are not better than your choices.   But they are mine.  I do not want to defend them (to the vegans or the carnivores).  I find food deeply personal, and lately I am finding it deeply delicious.  That journey into truly amazing vegan food is part of what I am hoping to share here.

Dorkiness (with an athletic flair)

March 16, 2010

I recently got a Nike+ Sportband, which I used for the first time today.  Knowing how far I am running, without having to stay on a pre-planned course, makes me swoon.

I achieved a Personal Best at the Trout Creek (Squiggy Classic!) 5K.  29:51.  That is a 9:38 minute per mile pace (for those of you who give a flying fig).  Such a beautiful day.  Relatively flat course.  Always nice to be out in the woods. And I came in 24th in the Women’s Division, which meant I got a dykey looking hat that I will cherish for quite some time.  I had coveted the top 25 runner prizes at previous races… and now I have one!  SQUIGGY!

My 6.2 mile run on campus today left me feeling confident about the Strawberry Classic 10K this Saturday.  I mean, I am not going to break any records… but I can handle the distance without any issue.

Wow, I am such a dork about running.  Aw, hell… who am I kidding?  I am a dork about everything.

Where’s Pea?

March 9, 2010

Oh good Lord in Heaven… almost two weeks have flown by without a peep from the Pea.  Let’s see if I can get you guys caught up real quick:

  • Spent the weekend with my family in Orlando celebrating Mama’s 60th birthday.  The venture included a trip to Cafe Tu Tu Tango, outlet shopping, and a day at Universal Studios.  Mama’s favorite ride:  Shrek.  Oh man, does she love Shrek.  My favorite:  The Mummy.   A rollercoaster!  In the dark!  With fire!  Dude.
  • Commented on 88 papers in 4 days.  That is 22 papers per day (just in case you didn’t pass 3rd grade math, you know, with the division).  Did I have time to do anything else? Glad you asked.
  • Ran on campus last Thursday, a first for me even though I have worked at USF for 6 years.  Unbeknownst to me, there are hills on campus.  I think I climbed every one of them in the hour that I ran.
  • Discovered that, after a long run, I sometimes feel woozy.  Almost passed out in the girls bathroom in Cooper Hall.  That bathroom is scarier than the thought of passing out.  Trust me.
  • Saturday Monkito and I hit the Gasparilla Art Show, the Buddha Lounge for lunch, and Joffrey’s coffee in Ybor (for a HUGE slice of chocolate cake).  Lovely time had by all.  Then off to Paci’s Pizza for a slice  (Monkito swears it is just like NY pizza… what do I know?  I have never even been to NY) and to our Saturday night AA meeting in South Tampa.  Yes, we go to dinner and a meeting almost every Saturday night.  It is a date.  Shut it.
  • Sunday morning = church!  Then a quick 5k, lunch with Monkito, a jog (with Monkito!) at Lake Park, and some volleying of the tennis ball at another neighborhood park.  Yes, Monkito went for a jog.  She did great!  We did a mile (with exercise stops along the trail, which we did too) and then walked another mile to complete the loop.  And playing tennis (and I use that in the absolute loosest sense of the words) was a blast.  Turns out I can keep the ball on the court the majority of the time.  Who knew?
  • Monday I drove down to Fort Desoto to run.  Beautiful view.  Ran for an hour and a half (a new record for me).  Haven’t calibrated my Nike band yet, but I am guessing I covered 8 mile or so.  Could see the ocean most of the time from the paved trail.  The temperature was about 70.  Gorgeous.
  • And finally, today I was very, very brave as I had two cavities filled.  And, all day long, the Crest Gel commercial from the 80s has been in my head.  Cavity Creeps attacking!  Crest Gel! Crest Gel!  (I need to get out more)

And, just think, we are only on Day 2 of Spring Break!  The adventure continues…

Defects of Character? Who Me?

February 25, 2010

I slept in this morning.  Blessed sleep.  Until 9:00 a.m. even.  Decadent.

I met with my sponsor to finish my Fifth Step (you know, the one where you review all of your resentments, fears, sexual misconduct and harm done to others… Fun!).  My sponsor and I lounged around on my bedroom floor (like we were twelve), and I commenced to tell her all of the things that really get to me, the ones that keep me up at night, that keep tugging at me when I would rather ignore them.  I have been through a Fifth Step before.  It is cleansing to take such a close look at myself, eye-opening to see the patterns of thought and behavior that emerge.  But the whole process is a bit draining.  It is always hard to look directly at myself, in an effort to see where I can become better, where I can grow.  Truth be told, I am not always great at admitting that I am not perfect.  Ahem.

After my sponsor left, I spent some quiet time alone with some apple cinnamon tea in my papasan chair.  I won’t bore you with the particulars, but there may have been some praying going on (Step 6: Became entirely ready for God to remove these defects of character & Step 7: Humbly asked him to remove our shortcomings).

I had been debating about a run on and off all day.  Usually any intense emotional experience dictates that I must run, to clear my head.  But it is cold here in Tampa.  And I hate cold.  But I also hate cranky… and cranky was about to rear its ugly head.  So I tied on my shoes and headed out.

I swear, I felt like I was running through molasses.  Everything was off about this run.  My shoulders and my hips felt like they were out of sync.  I got a cramp in my side.  And did I mention the molasses?  Slow going.  Very slow.  But I guess sometimes the success of a run is measured by whether I make it from Point A to Point B.  And I did, molasses be damned.

Now, it is on to karaoke with some friends…. I hope someone sings Sweet Caroline.  Or maybe some Bon Jovi….