Sunday, June 3, 2012

Linda's Baby Shower

A couple of years ago, Lorelai and I hosted a baby shower for our dear friend Sarah. This time we had one for Linda, another dear friend who I have worked with for eight years. That makes me feel so old! Linda was actually one of the four people who interviewed me when I started. She also motivated me, worked with me and graduated with me last December from the Master's program we completed. Linda and I have had great memories of not just work and school, but shopping, pizza and wine, as well. I am blessed to have both of these ladies in my life.

This time around Sarah, being the generous, sweet, creative friend she is, offered to help with the shower. She came over the day before with Baby AJ and helped us bake, decorate and prepare. She also helped beforehand doing intense research on ideas. She even brought over the most beautiful pink peonies and yellow tulips for the party. Thank you Sarah!

Here are some photos from before the party:

 And some pictures from the shower:

We had lots of fun preparing and look forward to meeting the beautiful baby boy soon.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Later at the cabin:

Lorelai, with a mouth full of marshmallow "What is wrong with my tooth? Is it facing forward?"

Then she wriggled one of her bottom front teeth. It is almost ready to fall out!

At the cabin

Lorelai: "If you're sexy and you know it clap your hands."

We had a weekend at my Mom's cabin, which was wonderful. Sunday night involved s'mores in the fire, wine and Jenga. All were happy!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Fancy Restaurant

When Lorelai has dance it ends at six o'clock, so sometimes we get food on the way home. I asked Lorelai if she wanted to go to Dairy Queen and if we should go in or drive through and take it home. 

Her question to me was "Is Dairy Queen a fancy restaurant?"

Me: "No, it is not fancy."

Lorelai: "Well, if it isn't fancy, then let's drive through. I only want to go into fancy restaurants."

Monday, May 7, 2012

Howling at the moon

In the desert before sunset

Saturday night was a full moon and, according to those who know about these things (not me), an especially special one because it was closer to the Earth than normal. Also, in numerology, it was a symbol of transformation because it was 5-5-5 (because 2012 adds up to 5). I don't put much weight in those things, but I like the idea of transformation and one couldn't help but be astounded at how beautiful the moon was. I was lucky enough to see it rise from behind the Superstition Mountains as it was glowing from behind and then slowly rose up and up and lit up the desert. I was also extremely lucky to be in a group of women, including my mom, around a bonfire in a drumming circle. I had never been to a drumming circle and it was so peaceful. We would set an intention and then just start drumming. It was so cool how everyone would fall into a rhythm and it would change over time, then for some reason get faster and faster until we all stopped. Then we would laugh and set another intention. Lorelai, I can't wait until I can take you with me to things like this. 

The moon peaking out from behind the mountain

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Friday, March 30, 2012

I finished a Marathon. 26.2 miles.

Even I can't believe that.

Before the race.
Before the race at Dodger Stadium.

To be clear, I didn't say I ran a marathon, because I didn't. Turns out, there are a few marathons that are really good for walking, and that is what we mostly did. My friend Susan, who has been my closest friend for almost 20 years (!) proposed this crazy idea over a year ago. I agreed, thinking it was a long way away and she would change her mind. When she told me last spring she was having a baby, I thought we we had a great excuse, but despite the fact that the marathon was only four months after he due date, she said we were still doing it.

So, a few months before the big day I downloaded a training schedule and bought some fancy shoes and socks, and got walking. At first, it was boring and awkward. Being out on the street, not sure where was best to walk or even really how. I soon learned I also need a pedometer and a running pack, which both made things much easier. Later, I realized I would need some arch supports. I also know that my ears really hurt when they are cold, so I was so glad to have my headband to keep them warm. My last purchase before leaving town for the race was some waterproof mascara, which I thought made total sense, but Susan and her husband agreed was not the norm. Well, I feel more confident with pretty lashes, so we gotta do what works for us, right? I took some great advice from my Dad, who has run a few marathons, which was not to train in a loop. It is too easy to quit early. Go half way in one direction, then turn around and go back. This advice was priceless, because I definitely wanted to turn around sometimes and if I had been doing loops past my house or car, that would have happened.

There are a few things I wish someone had told me, though. Just the logistics of the race were a bit intimidating. Where do I pee? (A: there are port a potties along the way). Where do I leave stuff? (A: at the LA marathon, PODS had a place to drop stuff off and then pick it up at the end.) What do I do with my sweatshirt when it gets warm and I no longer need it? (A: We bought some at a thrift store and then you can throw it to the side of the road where someone will pick it up to re-donate unless the homeless of downtown LA get it first, which is even better). Note on this last point - leaving your discarded sweaters, gloves, and other stuff in the middle of the road really sucks for those of us pulling up the rear. It was like hurdles at some points.

To be honest, I think a great way to prepare for your first marathon would be to volunteer at one. Susan and I were both so impressed with not only how nice all the other participants were (that's a lot of type A personalities gathered together) but how kind and encouraging the volunteers giving out water were as well as the people that came to watch. They yelled encouragement, held up funny signs (RUN! There are zombies behind you!), gave out oranges and granola bars, all with a smile. Volunteering would help you see how it all works, what people are wearing (plenty of waterproof mascara, I am sure) and what other things may be a challenge, so you can be prepared. Ignore the look of pain on the participant's faces, they will say it was worth it, I promise.

So, as far as the actual experience, doing it with a friend is great. Susan and I had a pretty similar pace, so we were able to encourage each other and stay together. We didn't talk as much as I thought we would, but having her next to me was so comforting. She says mile 15 was hardest for her. I did think she had a second wind toward the end. For me, before the marathon I thought after mile 18 I would feel relieved in knowing we were going to make it, but in truth it was an uphill battle for me. After mile 20 I really had to pull into my zen place inside and ignore the pain to keep going. If I had followed my training schedule, I am sure this would have been less painful. Another word of advice: cut your toenails very, very short. I did not get any blisters (those socks are great), but the last few miles the corners of my middle few toes began to cut into the toes next to them. I had not thought of this, so if you found this by searching "my first marathon experience" keep it in mind.

I would highly recommend the LA Marathon for a first marathon and for someone wanting to walk a marathon. The route was changed in the last few years to go past a lot of cool places, which made it difficult for me not to stop to take photos, but I managed not to. We went past downtown, where I had gone with my husband for our green card interview, we went through Hollywood, where Susan and I went to our first Tori Amos concert in high school at Pantages. We had amazing views of the Hollywood sign and the Griffith Observatory. We passed the tattoo shop where my mom and I got tattoos when I was 19 and the bar where we had a drink right before (with my fake ID, which she didn't know about until then). We walked down Rodeo Drive and through Brentwood (so many beautiful houses) to Santa Monica, where we have lots lots of great memories. Along the way we saw Batman and Jesus, which I thought was my imagination, but Susan saw him too. There was a man in front of us around mile 23 who looked about 80. He was faster than us and said he had done over 100 marathons.

When we got to about mile 24 I realized Lorelai would be at the end, and that really perked me up. There were hard, cold winds blowing in our faces the last few miles, but we were grateful the rain that had been forecast never showed up. We finished in 7 hours and 12 minutes. The average time was 5 and a half hours. Susan's husband Eric was there at the finish line with our girls. We didn't see them until later, but knowing they were there feels really good. He had bought flowers for our daughters to give us and kept them there despite the wind trying to blow them away, which made them pretty grumpy.

The end of the race, Santa Monica.
At the end of the race. My beloved Santa Monica!

Now that it has been a couple weeks, I think this experience was amazing. It reminded me that this body, which I have had negative feelings for my entire life, can do amazing things. The only other time I felt this way was when I was pregnant, but then it wore off. It reminded me that moving feels good and feeling healthy feels good. I am trying to convince Susan to run a 5k with me in the fall!

Friday, March 9, 2012

When someone shows you who they are

Believe them.

This is some advice my aunt had for my mom and she passed on to me.

Actually, believe yourself. When those red flags start popping up, especially early, trust what they are telling you. Listen to the spirit in your heart letting you know that it isn't right. We sometimes want so much for a new relationship, or job, or friend to be good we try too hard to *make it work* when what we should be doing is recognizing that we need to move on.

Lorelai, I wish I could make you learn all the things I have without having to experience the growth (i.e. pain). I know I can't, but what I really hope to help you know is that you are enough, alone or not, employed or not, and anyone you let into your life should be adding to it and helping you feel more you. Don't give your energy to someone who takes away from you, or prevents your happiness. They will show you. Believe them.


Thursday, February 2, 2012

It is strangely quiet around here

And by "around here" I mean in my brain.
All of a sudden things have sounded different and I coudn't quite put my finger on it.

I have had moments in the last month that felt like I could hear the clock ticking and time was slower than ever, but in a good way. Peaceful. Then, something would happen and the world was rushing by in fast forward, all adrenaline and smiling and zoom. Then, back to crickets.

It feels like I am shedding a shell that has weighed me down and hidden me. It feels like a calm before a tornado - but a tornado of goodness; puzzle pieces finding their places.

Then I realized.

The sound of the swirl of the whirlpool is gone. The sound of the rush of the rip tide, the rush of chemicals when you are covered with fear - are gone. The critical voice telling me that everything is ruined has become a little jumping bug at my feet, unable to reach me. I know she will grow sometimes and I will not try to step on her. I will love her, but remember she is not so smart.

Wow, it is so quiet without the fear.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Know Thyself

I went to a funeral when I was about 21. A woman from the church had died after a long illness. I didn't know her well, but I knew her son. It was really my first funeral and the first time I thought about how I would be remembered when I die. I sobbed through the whole thing, which was odd, since I wasn't very close to the family.

I thought of the words that were important to me and pictured them on my headstone:

Overall, I just wanted to think I would be remembered as a person who would be missed, I suppose. That people would smile when they thought of me.

One word that did not occur to me was brave or courageous. I usually associate those words with a person who fights, like soldiers, or those who risk their lives in pursuit of something amazing. I didn't think it really applied to me, or was even very important to me.

Now, I finally realize that to be any of the things I listed, first I must be brave.  A coward does not fall in love and share their life with someone. A coward does not take out ridiculous student loans in hopes of having a fulfilling career. A coward does not have the strength to tell someone they love them if they are not sure it will be said back to them. A coward does not risk their heart, money, time.

The truth is, even the good things that we think should come easily to us require courage. We will be disappointed, but looking at the chances I have taken, I have never regretted being brave, even when I lost in the end. The things I regret are the times that I lost before I even started.